PREVIEW: Lancashire v Essex
Match Preview: Lancashire CCC v Essex CCC, Specsavers County Championship
Lancashire are gunning for the Specsavers County Championship title, what would be their second in seven seasons.
They host an Essex side at Emirates Old Trafford who are leaders of Division One and 36 points clear with four games remaining.
Make no mistake, this is the defining week for the Red Rose county.
Win it and the pressure is right on a Chelmsford side who have not won the crown since 1992 and were only promoted from Division Two last year.
Lose or even draw and the race is realistically over.
Both sides won last week, with Lancashire beating Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford and Essex beating Somerset at Chelmsford.
Lancashire CCC v Essex CCC
Tuesday 5 – Friday 8 August
Emirates Old Trafford
It really has been a dream season for Essex.
Promoted only last September, they have taken the top flight by storm to win seven of their 10 matches so far, drawing the other three.
Coached by former Yorkshire duo Chris Silverwood and his assistant Anthony McGrath, they are captained by Ryan ten Doeschate. The latter, however, returned to his native South Africa last week for personal reasons.
They are going for their sixth straight win, although will be without a number of key players.
Alastair Cook and Tom Westley are on England Test duty, while they will also be without an overseas player.
Mohammad Amir has returned to Pakistan, with former Red Rose overseas quick Neil Wagner only replacing him for the last three games.
Wagner started the season with Essex, playing in the draw against Lancashire at Chelmsford in April.
LAST TIME OUT
Lancashire had much the better of the opening round draw at Chelmsford, only to be denied by a superb unbeaten 141 from Dan Lawrence on the final day after Essex were 478 and were reduced to 52-2.
After electing to bat, debutant Dane Vilas hit 74 in Lancashire’s 319 before Jimmy Anderson, who later captained the side following a finger injury for Steven Croft, and Stephen Parry struck three times apiece as the hosts were bowled out for 159 in reply.
Alex Davies was then the first man in the match to star with an unbeaten 140 as the Red Rose set their target late on day three with 317-3.
Vilas continued his fine game with 92.
Unfortunately, Lancashire were unable to break teenager Lawrence’s resistance.
He shared century partnerships with Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate as Essex finished on 316-6.
WHAT THEY SAID
Lancashire coach Glen Chapple is under no illusions as to the size of task his side face in the title race, but he is confident in his team’s ability to at least push the visitors hard.
“Essex are in the driving seat at the moment,” he said. “It’s theirs to lose.
“Realistically, their win at Scarborough while we were getting washed out at Hampshire gave them some breathing space.
“We’ve got it all to do. But it gives us something to fight for, and it’s exciting.
“It’s a challenge and makes the games exciting. We’ve still got four games to play, and we’ll try and win every one.
“We have to play good strong cricket and try to be positive, which is what we’ve done all season.
“It will be good to see during and after the game how both teams have come on because we played them in the first game of the season, and I thought we had the best of that. We were disappointed at the time not to get over the line.
“We would hope to play well and dominate the next game and see where that takes us.”
Take a look at the other fixtures taking place in the Specsavers County Championship:
- Hampshire v Surrey, The Ageas Bowl
- Yorkshire v Middlesex, Headingley
- Warwickshire v Somerset, Edgbaston
2018 Membership Renewals
2018 Memberships are now available to current Members to renew – and you won’t want to miss out on the fantastic benefits that are available to you as a fan of the Red Rose.
If you’re not currently a Member, new 2018 Memberships will be available from Monday 18 September.
Starting from just £50 for adults and £15 for juniors our Memberships offer fans the opportunity to get closer to the Club than ever before - with access to home fixtures*, exclusive Members content, priority access to international tickets and a whole lot more.
Plus…we are also providing Members with the opportunity to join our Ashes Priority Club with our new two-year Membership options to give you priority ticket access for one of the biggest fixtures in sport.
To renew your Membership for 2018, you can buy online here or call our Ticket and Membership Office on 0161 868 6868.