“It was a proud day for me and a bit of a surprise.”

Those were the words of Essex fast bowler Peter Siddle after he had been awarded his county cap and collected his 2019 County Championship winners medal during the recent match between Essex and Warwickshire.

“I love playing for the club and enjoy everyone’s company in the dressing room and around the club,” he continued. “It’s a great place to be and some of the boys have become really close mates.

“Getting my county cap was a very proud moment for me and it is very special.”

The popular Australian is now in his third term with the county having first linked up with them in 2018 when he shared one of the Overseas players roles with Neil Wagner who is about to appear for New Zealand in their two Test series with England starting next week.

East London Advertiser: Peter Siddle of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Danny Briggs during Essex CCC vs Warwickshire CCC, LV Insurance County Championship Group 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 21st May 2021Peter Siddle of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Danny Briggs during Essex CCC vs Warwickshire CCC, LV Insurance County Championship Group 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 21st May 2021 (Image: ©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468)

Siddle played 7 matches that season topping the county’s bowling averages with 37 wickets @ 16.41.

The pace ace from Victoria then returned in 2019 to make a significant contribution towards the Essex’s County Championship title success with 34 wickets in 8 matches.

His stints in England had been so successful that he caught the eye of the Baggy Green caps selectors and he was called into the Australian Ashes squad forcing him to miss the last four matches of the Championship season.

Essex duly went onto take the title having avoided defeat by nearest-pursuers Somerset at Taunton in their final match.

Such was the impression that the bowler had made on his team-mates that when they were photographed on the day with their newly won crown, a life-size cardboard image of him was positioned alongside his colleagues.

“I think my cardboard image was in a bit better condition that some of the players the morning after that day,” he laughed.

“But to now receive the medal from 2019 was really nice and to now also get my county cap is very special,” Siddle continued.

East London Advertiser: Peter Siddle of Essex wears his new county capPeter Siddle of Essex wears his new county cap (Image: ©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468)

Growing up back home Down Under, Siddle would dabble in a bit of lumberjacking but as his career began to take shape, he swopped axe for ball giving up chopping wood in favour of cutting down wickets.

“I’m now getting to the backend of my career but to come here in the Australian off season, play cricket, enjoy it and have success on the field is what it’s all about,” he reflected.

“It’s something I love doing.”

The match with Warwickshire that concluded as a draw on Sunday was played in conditions far from ideal for the ‘summer game’.

Although crowds returned in strictly-limited numbers to Chelmsford for the first time in two seasons (200 only for each of the first 3 days), they had to endure high winds, bitterly cold temperatures and stoppages for rain and bad light which affected the match throughout.

Only 10 overs were bowled on day 2 and 21 on day four amongst a total of 219 overs lost overall.

However, there was still time for Siddle, who won 67 Test caps for his country before calling time on the international game, to make his mark returning his career-best Essex figures of 6 for 38 and he was delighted to see members back watching cricket.

“It makes it really enjoyable for everyone to see spectators back, getting a few cheers or claps when walking back to the boundary at the end of an over after taking a wicket was nice,” he stated.

“You don’t realise how much you’ve missed the crowds until they actually come back, and it was nice to see the smiles on their faces as they were allowed to come and watch some live sport.

“Chelmsford is a lovely ground to play at and I love bowling here.”
And despite his own clutch of wickets, Siddle was quick to heap praise on other members of the pace attack as Warwickshire were dismissed for 166.

“We bowled well as a unit – it is probably something we have lacked this year doing it together but it showed the pressure we can build,” he insisted.

“When we were not taking wickets, we kept the economy rate down which built up the pressure on the batsmen. As a bowling group we bowled really well, we bowled good areas throughout and beat the bat quite a few times.

“Every bowler came on nagging away for the guy at the other end and that was definitely our best bowling performance to date.
Essex now head to the north-east for their next encounter in this year’s County Championship when they play Durham at Chester-Le-Street starting this Thursday.