Essex draw rain-hit clash with Warwickshire

Sam Cook of Essex celebrates with Danny Lawrence after taking the wicket of Warwickshire's Danny Briggs

Sam Cook of Essex celebrates with Danny Lawrence after taking the wicket of Warwickshire's Danny Briggs - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Danny Briggs and Will Rhodes took the sting out the final day at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford as the conditions won out in Essex’s LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Warwickshire.

Nightwatchman Briggs and captain Rhodes cancelled out Warwickshire’s first-innings deficit inside 14 overs to all but kill off the home side’s hopes of stealing a win.

Warwickshire reached 66 for one before rain either side of lunch saw fists bumped at 4.30pm on a draw.

The result keeps Group One incredibly tight, which could mean Essex’s 12 points to Warwickshire’s 11 could be valuable in deciding who progresses from the group.

Warwickshire began the day with a deficit of 51, having blocked out one over on the third day.

Briggs and Rhodes appeared in no danger with the nip and zip of the opening two days failing to materialise for Jamie Porter, Sam Cook and Peter Siddle, while also failing to assist spinner Simon Harmer.

It took 81 balls to bring up the 50 partnership, with Briggs the more fluent of the two, contributing 31 runs.

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Despite traditionally batting in the lower order, Briggs is a solid batsman with a century and two fifties in his first-class career.

He didn’t look out of place at the top of the order with a tasty straight drive off Porter, a cut off Siddle and a flowing straight drive off Harmer.

The former Hampshire and Sussex spinner eventually departed after lunch when a leading edge off Cook looped to Dan Lawrence at extra cover.

For Harmer, who bowled 18 overs across both innings, it was his first wicketless Championship appearance having taken at least a scalp in each of his previous 47 matches.

Play halted at 12.17pm and despite attempts to get back on the game was finally put out of its misery by Ian Gould and Ben Debenham in the evening gloom.

Essex fast bowling coach Andre Nel said: “Unfortunately, the rain paid its part but also the heavy roller back-to-back both last night and this morning looked like it flattened the wicket quite a lot.

“The guys said the ball went soft very quickly so that could have been a factor as well.

“There are still plenty of positives to take out the game and some bonus points.

“Guys are beating each in this group that you don’t expect to be beating each other. It is going to be close on this group but that was a point gained on Warwickshire. All we can do is control what we can control.

“I think that is the best we’ve bowled as a unit this season so far which is the real positive to take forward.

“We just need a bit of luck and we can go on a roll like we can.”