SHANE Snater was the Essex players’ player of the year.

It could be argued that it was the least his team-mates could do considering the number of times he dug them out of the mire during the season.

The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder also took the performance of the season award for the unbeaten 65 he compiled in nerve-racking circumstances at Headingley when he provided the glue to steer Essex from the depths of 64 for six, chasing 162, to a remarkable one-wicket victory.

Among other personal highlights – during an LV= Insurance Championship season in which he scored 463 runs at 23.15 and was third highest wicket-taker with 36 – were a match-saving, career-highest 79 not out against Northamptonshire, and six-wicket hauls against Somerset and Lancashire.

“To have the trust of the players and for me to be awarded that was a great honour,” said the 27-year-old Snater.

“To be honest I don’t know how or why people voted for me.

"All I can say is thank you and try and do the same this season and continue contributing for the team.”

It was something of a breakthrough year for a player who received his county cap last September after only shining intermittently during his previous four seasons at the club.

“I think I showed some glimmers of that form the season before, but, yes, last season was pretty much like a breakthrough," said Snater.

"It was really good that I could finally contribute consistently with both bat and ball.

"I’m really happy with how last season went and I guess my aim now is to maintain that and move on with renewed confidence.

“As you get older you start to mature and you look at your game a bit differently, what you want to do on and off the field.

"I think it was just that maturity began to show.

“It is quite difficult when you first come to a new country and you’re still trying to find your feet inside cricket, outside cricket.

"I guess everything needs to come together for you to perform on the field And it did last season.”

That 51-ball innings against Yorkshire certainly brought Snater sharply into focus.

Essex were making heavy weather of the run-chase when he strode out to join Adam Rossington.

“It was quite a difficult wicket to bat on," said Snater.

"We wanted to try and score as quickly as possible because it was just a matter of time before a ball had your name on it.

"We just tried to see the good balls out and put the bad balls away.

“I think that is how we slowly crept forward.

"Then Benny Allison and I put together a nice partnership and everything just seemed to fall into place.”

However, the dismissal of Allison left Snater with just number 11 Jamie Porter for company and a couple of runs still needed.

Snater went for bust and hit the decisive boundary.

He remembers: “I kind of figured there had been two balls in the previous over, one of which Ports missed that barely missed the stumps. I decided I’d rather get out trying to go for it than just try and defend it and maybe get out to a half-shot.”

Those sort of performances will pile expectation on the Netherlands international this season.

“I don’t really look at it that way,” Snater replies.

“I am quite a laidback person, so I tend not to think like that.

"I’m happy where I’m at. If there is more pressure on I’m not really feeling it. I’m happy if we are winning. Hopefully it’s a good season.”

And what would constitute a good season?

“Obviously we would like to walk away with a trophy," said Snater.

"It was amazing to see the successes of 2019 and 2020 from the outside, so to be part of something like that would be incredible.

"I would certainly love to be a part of a Champiponship-winning team.

"Hopefully we can create our own history.”