ESSEX Cricket Head Coach Chris Silverwood says he has found a secret weapon in Dan Lawrence’s bowling after the youngster helped the Eagles to back-to-back wins over the weekend.

Lawrence, who has struggled for consistency with the bat so far this season, excelled with the ball against Hampshire and Surrey in the T20 Blast, taking three wickets at an impressive economy rate.

The 18-year-old conceded just 5.25 runs an over against Hampshire (1-21) and was even more impressive against Surrey, with his economy 2.75 and ending with 2-11 after dispatching both openers with his legbreak bowling.

The victories put Essex back in contention in the southern half of the draw, after they had won just one of their first five matches.

And Silverwood said he was pleased with his team’s weekend’s work.

“Dan is a young man finding his way and he will have his bad days but that is part of growing up. It is a secret weapon and it’s been exceptional.

“He came to the party in a big way against Hampshire and Surrey and I am sure he has more to offer.

“We needed a couple of wins to kick-start our T20 campaign and it has left us in with a shout. The boys knew how important it was but we want to treat every game as a must win. I’m so pleased.

“After the last T20 match against Gloucestershire we had a big think about it all and it has worked. The players delivered.”

Without a County Championship match this week, and their next match against Kent Spitfires not until Friday, a number of the first team players are turning out for the second string at Surrey – including Lawrence, Jaik Mickleburgh, Graham Napier, Jamie Porter and Matt Dixon.

And Silverwood says that the team is looking forward to Friday’s T20 clash with the Spitfires.

“A few of the team are playing second team and it is important for them to do well,” he said. “Otherwise the boys have a few days off and we will return for training later in the week.

“We are all looking forward to the next match against Kent.”