Wednesday 23 rd September saw Essex crowned as champions of the Bob Willis Trophy. Essex took on Somerset on a blustery, freezing day at Lords Cricket Ground, on the final day of the five-day red ball match. The two battled it out and proved why they are consistently at the top of county cricket. Although Essex took the trophy, this wasn’t without a strong fight from Somerset; they scored 301 all out in their first innings, setting Essex a high target and declared at 272-7 in their second leaving Essex to chase 237 runs in 81 overs to win. The majority of the win is to be handed to Sir Allister Cook who scored 172 of Essex’s 337 runs the first innings, helping Essex to their eventual victory. However, Essex did not need to win, they only needed to draw as they scored more in the first innings, meaning they would lift the trophy.
In the final parts of the match Paul Walter and Ryan ten Doeschate carried Essex through by scoring 21 and 46 respectively, although they didn’t need high scores, all Essex needed was to survive the 81 overs remaining without losing all their wickets. It was close however, due to an impressive bowling display from Somerset’s Jack Leach, England’s unsung hero of Headingly, he took three wickets, but his third was in the last couple of overs and was too late for Somerset and the draw meant Essex were crowned champions.
This championship adds to an extensive list of trophies won by Essex in recent years, as they collected their fourth major trophy in three years. The trophy is named after the late England cricket legend Bob Willis, he played for Surrey and Warwickshire, taking 325 wickets in 90 Tests as a fast bowler and achieved his career best in the 1981 Ashes test with 8 wickets for 43 runs at Headingly. Willis passed away in December of 2019 after a long-term illness.