Specsavers County Championship
Division 1
Essex 159 & 293 beat Somerset 164 & 109 by 179 runs

JAMIE Porter claimed seven wickets as Somerset crumbled to a 179-run defeat at Essex, delivering another blow to their County Championship Division 1 survival hopes.

Hosts Essex began the day on 158-4 after a rain-hit third day in Chelmsford, and wasted no time in building their second innings into a very competitive score.

They had reached 234 when Adam Wheater was dismissed for 88, caught behind off Craig Overton, and 284 when Tim Groenewald and Jack Leach dismissed James Foster (22) and Ryan ten Doeschate (67), respectively, before lunch.

Following the interval it was Dom Bess who shone for the visitors, removing Simon Harmer and Porter in quick succession.

With Mohammad Amir not batting due to injury, that meant Essex posted a total of 293 all out.

For Somerset, Overton finished with 3-68 off 25 overs, Leach 2-52 off 25 and Bess 2-17 off 9.1.

The away side required 289 runs to win, but despite the absence of star bowler Amir they were soon struggling once again with the bat.

Marcus Trescothick (0) departed off the second ball of the reply, bowled by Porter, and Tim Rouse (9) followed (caught behind off Porter) to leave them 10-2.

Eddie Byrom (10) and Tom Abell (0) did not hang around along either, although captain Abell appeared unlucky to be adjudged lbw.

When James Hildreth was out for 22 - giving Porter his fourth victim - Somerset were truly staring down the barrel at 42-5.

Steve Davies and Overton survived through to 77-5 at tea, but soon afterwards they had lost Davies (19) as Porter claimed his five-fer, and Bess (0) to Harmer.

Aside from Overton there was not much resistance from the tail, Leach (8) and Groenewald (1) both being clean bowled by Porter as the score crawled up to 100.

Overton's doggedness could not last forever, and when he was bowled by Harmer for 36, that was game over.

The visitors were all out for 109 in 37.5 overs, beaten by 179 runs, with Porter taking 7-55 off 14 overs (12 wickets in total in the match) and Harmer 3-29 off 15.5.

Three bowling points were all Somerset could muster from the match, leaving them 23 points adrift of third-bottom Yorkshire in the table.

This was always going to be the toughest of their remaining matches, with Essex clear at the top of the Division 1 standings, and they have matches against Warwickshire (away), Lancashire (home), Surrey (away) and Middlesex (home) still to come.

Nonetheless, the Achilles Heel that is their brittle batting shows little sign of going away, and it casts a long shadow over their hopes of beating the drop.


SOMERSET captain Tom Abell said afterwards: “You’ve got to give credit to the way Porter bowled.

"I thought there was a little bit in the wicket throughout the game and he certainly extracted the most out of it.

"At the same time it was a pretty disappointing effort with the bat from us again – not for the first time this season.

"We’re not good enough with the bat at the moment, simple as that. They outperformed us in all areas.

 “Confidence is down, as it would be given the form of a lot of our batting line-up.

"Unfortunately none of our batting line-up have found any rhythm and had any extended period of time at the crease this season.

"It’s an issue we’re all too aware of. It is all very well trying to address it in the nets and in training, but it is difficult to put it right.

“From a batting point of view we’re constantly under the pump because we’re not playing well and we’re chasing big scores.

"That pressure feeds through the batting line-up and it’s not helping us at the moment.

"As individuals we need to stand up – that’s all we can do.

"At the end of the day, as players we’re not performing.”

Quotes from ECB reporters' network