Essex ‘didn’t play well enough’ says McGrath

PUBLISHED: 08:31 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:31 15 June 2018

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath looks on from the balcony (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath looks on from the balcony (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath admitted his side ‘didn’t play well enough’ following a 25-run defeat to Yorkshire in their Royal London One-Day Cup play-off at Chelmsford on Wednesday.

Essex skipper Tom Westley (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Essex skipper Tom Westley (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

They reduced the Vikings to 45-4, before Gary Ballance (91) and Jack Leaning (57) put on 129 for the first wicket to help them recover to 259-7.

Jamie Porter (3-25) was the pick of the Eagles attack, but the hosts slipped to 89-5 in reply and Adam Wheater’s 78 off 70 balls proved in vain.

McGrath said: “To be honest we’d have settled for that at halfway stage, 260. It was a used pitch, we’re a little bit disappointed, we thought it was going to be better than that. That’s hindsight, but you can never tell.

“It was used last week against Kent. I think if we’d used it soon after it would have been a better wicket. I’m not an expert on groundsmanship, but having not played on it for a week it was a bit drier than we expected and it deteriorated as the game went on. 300 is normally a par score at Chelmsford, so 260 probably shows you what the wicket was like.

“But still, 260 in 50 overs with the batting line-up we’ve got. But we needed one good partnership and we can chase anything in the last 10 overs.”

Essex lost Alastair Cook, stand-in captain Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara for a combined total of 36 runs, with Varun Chopra (37) the only top-order batsman to make much impact.

Wheater hit two sixes and five fours, while Neil Wagner (35) also produced some late fireworks before he was last man out with five balls remaining.

But although disappointed by their exit, McGrath says Essex have plenty to look forward to over the coming weeks as they return to the defence of their County Championship title against Nottinghamshire next Wednesday ahead of the Vitality T20 Blast.

He added: “I thought we bowled really well, and probably saved about 30 in the field, Harmer, Wagner and Lawrence were absolutely amazing. You’ve got to give credit to the opposition, Ballance and Leaning rebuilt.

“If we had got a wicket in that period we’d probably have kept them down to about 230-240. And in the end they ended up getting 80 off the last 10 overs. They gave themselves a chance, but we felt confident of chasing that down.

“Even so, in the end Wheater and Wagner almost did the unthinkable. We just didn’t play well enough.

“Everyone’s disappointed, obviously. No one wants to lose, no one’s jumping around in there. But games come thick and fast and we know that we’ve got a game going up soon and we’re going well in Division One. We’ve had a good campaign in the 50 overs, apart from tonight, and we’ve got the T20 to look forward to.”

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