Prichard ready to usher in life after Gooch

Adam Szreter talks to the Essex captain looking for his first trophy

Twelve years ago Derek Pringle of Essex ran in to bowl the last ball of the NatWest Trophy final to Nottinghamshire's Derek Randall. The previous five deliveries had been dispatched by Randall to all parts of Lord's, bringing Nottinghamshire within a whisker of a famous and highly unlikely victory. Having started the over as favourite, Pringle now ran in probably fearing the worst. But Randall, exhausted, chipped the ball tamely to midwicket and the young Paul Prichard, running in, took the catch that won the match.

At that time Prichard, just 20, was in his second season and Essex were in the middle of a period of dominance which garnered 11 trophies in 13 years. Now Prichard is their captain and, approaching the end of his third term of office, he is still waiting for his first success.

Inevitably it has been hard to live up to the years of plenty under Keith Fletcher and Graham Gooch. "You feel the pressure of that," Prichard says. "Both of those captains had a lot of success but it's a question of harnessing the pressure and making it work for you.

"I don't particularly feel pressure from the club or anybody else; it's just the pressure you put on yourself to be successful because you want it very badly - for the club, for the supporters and for yourself."

Having slipped out of the reckoning for the Championship and the Axa Life League, tomorrow's final against Warwickshire represents Prichard's last chance this summer. But if they lose, Prichard is not about to jump off the nearest bridge; if that was the case, last year's final, played on a dreadful pitch, would have given him more than enough reason. Chasing Lancashire's 186, Essex were all out for 57 shortly before 5.30pm.

"It's all right," Prichard says, laughing at the tentative way in which the subject is broached. "It's not the first time I've ever talked about it. I don't believe in just not talking about something bad that happens, going away and hiding under the duvet for three weeks or something; it's not quite me. But it was a terrible shame. We were cruelly disappointed to be bowled out for 57 on such a big day and everyone in Essex, not just the players, felt it."

One significant change Prichard has made from last season is to return to the opener's position he occupied in the early part of his career, but while one experienced Essex opener will emerge from the Long Room at some stage tomorrow, another, the recently retired Graham Gooch, will be conspicuous by his absence.

"For someone like myself, and all the 16 years I've been here, Goochie's been a major part of it and it's strange to walk into a dressing room without him," Prichard says.

"But the time comes for everyone and things have to move forward. What Graham's done for his county and his country is phenomenal, and he is missed in the dressing room not only as a player but as a person as well - even for his sense of humour."

Essex's one-day success this season has been built around the powerful batting of their Australian all-rounder Stuart Law opening with Prichard. "We've been getting fairly good starts and everybody's been doing their job at the right time lower down," Prichard says.

"We've won a lot of quite tight games, we haven't really smashed anyone and batsmen have had to play well under pressure. Even if they're only getting 15 or so it's a quick 15 at the right time, like Danny Law in the semi-final against Waqar when the game was slipping away from us."

That match, against Glamorgan, was one that Prichard was forced to miss with a pulled hamstring, but thanks to Robert Croft and Mark Ilott's altercation it is not one he is likely to forget in a hurry. "There were one or two unsavoury incidents that have been dealt with and it doesn't really need me to harp on about them," Prichard says.

"But over 120 overs there was some very good cricket played by both sides and I just find it a shame, and slightly bewildering, that the brilliant cricket was overshadowed by one or two isolated incidents."

Fisticuffs, or even handbags, against Warwickshire seem unlikely despite the importance of the occasion: "We've got a fair bit of respect for each other as clubs and teams, which is always nice," Prichard says. "They're a competitive side, as we are, but we get on well."

And as to what victory would mean to the Billericay-born Prichard? "Hard to put into words really," he says. "I don't think I'll be able to answer that until it happens - if it happens. It would mean a lot."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own