WESTCLIFF Hardcourts player Richard Barham helped Essex men to a 4-0 friendly victory over Hertfordshire.

The match was part of Essex’s preparations for the Aegon Summer County Cup later this month.

And non-playing captain Jamie Willson was delighted with the result and Barham’s contribution.

“It was only a friendly so we wouldn’t ready too much into it but three of their players will be travelling to Group One, so it was a good test for us,” said Willson, who lives in Leigh.

“Richard has been playing for the county for 17 or 18 years and he is playing as well as he ever has.

“They say Roger Federer is still in there after all these years, well so it Richard.

“The level may be different, but it’s still good news for us that he’s playing so well.”

Hertfordshire captain Jeff Wayne – famous for the musical version of War of the Worlds – could only field three players due to match commitments.

Essex selector Peter French played for Hertfordshire to get the friendly on but crashed to a 6-3 7-5 defeat alongside Finn Bass against Richard Wire and Mark Klein.

Barham and David Wright teamed up for a 6-3 6-3 victory over Jake Munns and Benjamin Wood. Wire and Klein then saw off French and Munns 6-3 6-3 to secure the match for Essex.

And Barham and Wright made sure it was a whitewash for Essex by beating Munns and Wood 6-3 6-4.

The final Essex team for the summer cup will be decided on Sunday following the conclusion of the Leo-Lyle Doubles Tournament at Thorpe Bay LTC.

The event is traditionally used for final selection for county week.

Essex’s men will be playing on home turf between July 21 and 25 as Group Three will be based at Frinton LTC.

Willson’s team will be up against Leicestershire, Cheshire, North of Scotland, West of Scotland and Cambridgeshire.

Barham will only be available for two of the days but Wire will provide cover for the other three days.

Ilford-based player David Wright also looks set for a place as he is in good form at the moment.

Essex’s ladies are also in Group Three and will be battling it out in Surbiton. They face Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, North of Scotland, West of Scotland and Sussex.