Cricket: Essex experience second successive humiliation

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Essex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115

Worcestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117-1

Worcestershire win by nine wickets

BATTING was not all that easy at New Road and yet never as difficult as Essex's score of 115 in 53.3 overs would suggest. Worcestershire themselves, with the huge advantage of knowing their target, and therefore being able to take their time, replied with 117 for 1 on 32.1 overs and won by a humiliating nine wickets.

Essex, who went into the match straight from their 239-run home defeat by Yorkshire in the County Championship, were put in to bat and found themselves struggling to mount a credible challenge for a place in the Benson and Hedges Cup's second round on a pitch with uneven bounce. After off-driving to several half-volleys from Kenneth Benjamin, Graham Gooch leant forward to drive Philip Newport's first ball, an outswinger, and was caught behind.

The score became 37 for 2 when Paul Prichard shot Stuart Lampitt into his stumps. Two runs later a fine throw from Graeme Hick accounted for Salim Malik, John Stephenson pushing Richard Illingworth to cover and Hick pouncing from gully.

Essex now went for 57 balls while scoring only one off the bat against a most accurate and niggardly Worcestershire seam attack. Chris Tolley, playing in his first Benson and Hedges game for the county, was outstanding with 1 for 13 in his 11 overs.

After batting 26 overs for 16 runs, Stephenson swept at Illingworth and was lbw and at 52 Nasser Hussain was bowled off the inside edge as he went half-forward to Benjamin, the ball cutting back into him and keeping low. Essex were 73 for 6 at lunch and there was no reprieve afterwards.

Tim Curtis and Phil Weston gave Worcestershire a solid start, putting on 31 in 15 overs before Curtis was trapped lbw going only half-forward to one from Derek Pringle which kept a trifle low.

But Hick was at his best cover-driving, on-driving and playing off his pads for successive fours against Pringle. The game ended soon after tea with almost 23 overs left amid a blaze of strokes, to which Weston also made a handsome contribution.

(Photograph omitted)