Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Promotion hunting Essex set for crunch Kent trip
12:13pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Sport
ESSEX’S exciting promotion tilt continues today with a trip to Canterbury to face derby rivals Kent.
Paul Grayson’s side start the day third in division two, having reduced the gap with second-placed Northamptonshire to 29 points with last week’s thrashing of Worcestershire.
This is Essex’s game in hand on Northants, who only have two matches left to play, and Grayson will want to take maximum points against a Kent side who are second-from-bottom.
Grayson said: “We started the game with Worcestershire very well, and when you bowl a team out for 100 you put yourselves in a position where you are able to be able control the match, which is what we did.
“It was a very good performance although I would like to have seen us score a few more runs because I thought we should have got another 50 or 60 at least.
“One or two of our players got in but didn’t get hundreds when they should have done.
“But as a group we are playing well and with confidence.
“So we approach the game at Canterbury full of confidence and hoping that we can get four days of good weather and put on another good show.”
Three of Essex’s pace attack have enjoyed an excellent Championship season with wickets a-plenty to show for their efforts.
Reece Topley’s 11 wicket haul last week took him to 43 victims, Graham Napier has 41, and David Masters - who returns to his old stomping ground today – has 40.
Grayson said: “It is good because Dave’s coming to the twilight of his career and so it’s important that we have bowlers who show they can step up and take over when we need them to.
“We don’t want to be considered a one-man attack; we want three, four or five of our bowlers among the wickets when they play.
“So the way that Reece has bowled and the outstanding season that Napes has enjoyed have been two of the most satisfying aspects of the season.
“Now it would be nice if we could finish these next three weeks with three positive performances and hope that we can get Northants nerves jangling during that time.”
Gautam Gambhir returns to the Essex line-up having missed the previous match due to a family bereavement, while Sajid Mahmood is also named in a 12-man squad.