Topley back at school as Essex face Glamorgan

ESSEX commence a County Championship match with Glamorgan at the Ford County Ground this morning seeking to lift themselves off the foot of the Division Two table.

South Africa Test paceman Londano Tsotsobe is set to make his home debut but the home side will be without leading wicket-taker Reece Topley who has to return to Royal Hospital School in Holbrook to sit AS Levels examinations.

Maurice Chambers comes into a side and is expected to be the only change from the team that drew with Northants last week. The outcome of that game looked in the balance at lunch on the final day after they had lost four second innings wickets and still needed 12 runs to make their opponents bat again.

Matt Walker and Mark Pettini though stepped forward to save the match with an unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 147 and Walker admitted that his unbeaten innings of 70 came as a welcome relief having previously been short of runs.

“Every player is looking to start the season well both from an individual perspective and also from a team perspective and it’s really upsetting both for the players and the fans when things don’t work out as planned,” he said.

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“All you can do is to retain your self-belief and keep going and hope that you get a bit of a break and that’s what happened at Northampton.”

The left-hander had managed only 43 runs in his five previous Championship innings and he is now hoping that, having rediscovered his form, he and the team can start to move on from their disappointing start.

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“So much has been talked about this Essex side having a big year but it doesn’t always happen like that,” he added. “There are plenty of good sides around but there’s a long, long way to go this season and once you get on a roll and win a few games, the habit starts to kick in.

“Hopefully, that’s what will happen to us and we’ll be right up there come the end of the season.”

Glamorgan have named a 14-man squad for the match adding Jim Allenby, Ben Wright and Adam Shantry to the side which drew with Surrey.

The Welsh county’s most recent success at Chelmsford came in a remarkable contest in 2004 after the home side had amassed 642 - the highest-ever total in any first-class game by a side which subsequently lost the match.

Glamorgan responded with 587 to concede a first innings lead of just 55 but when Essex batted for a second time, they were soon in trouble against the pace attack of Simon Jones and Mick Lewis and they were dismissed for 165, leaving their opponents to chase 221 on the final afternoon, a task they achieved with 3 wickets and 3.4 overs to spare.

Today’s teams

Essex: J Foster (capt, wkt), B Godleman, A Cook, J Mickleburgh, R Bopara, M Walker, M Pettini, T Phillips, D Masters, M Chambers, L Tsotsobe.

Glamorgan: A Petersen (capt), G Rees, W Bragg, M Powell, S Walters, B Wright, J Allenby, G Wagg, M Wallace (wkt), J Harris, R Croft, D Cosker, A Shantry, H Waters.

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