Essex set for Second XI Championship opener
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Walter impresses in limited-overs campaign
Essex begin their Second XI Championship campaign with a three-day match against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Monday.
And they go into the longer format on the back of three successive wins in the Second XI Trophy, under the captaincy of Wanstead’s Joe Ellis-Grewal.
Having lost their opening match against Sussex at Billericay on the Duckworth/Lewis method, they beat Middlesex at Radlett in another rain-affected contest.
Wickets were shared between Paul Walter (2-47), Matt Quinn (2-35), Matt Dixon (3-51) and Callum Taylor (2-35) as the home side reached 229-9, with Essex set a revised target of 237 in reply.
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Varun Chopra hit an unbeaten 109 and put on 108 with Taylor (50), before James Foster smacked 67 not out from just 39 balls to help clinch an eight-wicket win.
Essex then travelled to Taunton Vale to take on Somerset on Bank Holiday Monday, with Walter (2-47), Aaron Beard (2-54) and Dixon (2-39) all nabbing braces as the home side reached 253-9.
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Ellis-Grewal also picked up a wicket, before Walter’s stunning unbeaten 145 steered Essex to a four-wicket triumph.
The tall left-hander hit four sixes and 18 fours in a 113-ball innings, after Kishen Velani (41) dominated a 54-run stand for the second wicket.
Essex returned to Billericay to host Surrey on Wednesday, with Beard (4-58) the pick of the attack as the visitors piled up 287-9.
Dixon (3-57) and Jamie Porter (2-42) also had success with the ball, before Essex were set a revised target of 130 after rain.
Dan Lawrence hit four fours in a quickfire 23, while Walter also found the boundary three times in the search for quick runs.
Velani played the matchwinning innings of 56 off just 31 balls, including a six and seven fours, as Essex reached their target in just over an hour.