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Eagles see off Essex League XI

11:58 14 May 2015

Jesse Ryder hits out for the Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Jesse Ryder hits out for the Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licensing restrictions

Ryder in the runs in T20 warm-up

Essex Premier League XI pose for a team photograph ahead of the match with Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Essex Premier League XI pose for a team photograph ahead of the match with Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Essex Eagles defeated the Essex Premier League XI by 74 runs at the Essex County Ground in a warm-up match before the start of the NatWest T20 Blast.

Essex went into bat after winning the toss, and openers Jesse Ryder and Nick Browne got them off to a flyer.

In the second over, Browne bashed a six for the game’s first boundary and immediately followed it up with a four.

Ryder added to the momentum with a maximum of his own, and both batsmen continued to score rapidly.

Harold Wood's Hamzah Ikram celebrate the wicket of Greg Smith (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Harold Wood's Hamzah Ikram celebrate the wicket of Greg Smith (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Ryder’s best moment came in the sixth over, when he smashed 24 runs, including two sixes, and he reached his half century as Essex moved to 91-0 at the end of the powerplay.

Eagles continued to pile on the runs until Aaron West (Brentwood) took a simple catch to dismiss Ryder, who finished with 78 off 32 balls, with 11 fours and four maximums.

Ryder’s dismissal at 120 began a short spell of excellent bowling by the Premier League XI, with two more wickets falling in quick succession.

Browne (43) and Kishen Velani (10) both fell victim to the bowling of Bilal Butt (Loughton), with Julian Russell (Colchester) taking a splendid catch on the boundary to dismiss Velani.

Saf Imtiaz in batting action for the Essex Premier Leagues XI against Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Saf Imtiaz in batting action for the Essex Premier Leagues XI against Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

But Greg Smith held firm, scoring eight singles from his first 15 balls, before going on to club two sixes and six fours in his 57 before being bowled by Hamzah Ikram (Harold Wood).

James Foster and Jaik Mickleburgh saw out the 20 overs as Essex finished on 236-4, but the Premier League XI began their run chase in strong fashion.

West’s innings was short but effective as he scored 33 and then was caught by Smith.

Saf Imtiaz (Ilford) led his side to 66-1 at the end of the six-over powerplay, but Russell was also caught by Smith after scoring just six.

Imtiaz remained firmly in place, bringing up his half century in the 12th over, before Jack Sterland (Chelmsford) made the long walk back to the pavilion.

Reece Topley picked up his third scalp of the night by finally dismissing Imtiaz for 61 and the Premier League XI could not keep up the required run rate after that as their innings came to an end at 162-6.

Essex League chairman Andrew Kennedy said, “The [Premier League XI] did well. They went for a few early on. It looked like it was going to be a really big score, but the Essex boys pulled it back towards the end. But it was a good performance.

“They certainly didn’t disgrace themselves. Not many counties would score 160 against Essex’s bowling attack.”

Essex’s Ryder was named man of the match for his brilliant 78 in a match that has become an annual fixture since its inception three years ago, after being set up to create a closer link between the clubs and the county team.

Kennedy added: “It worked out really well. It works well for the county, because it’s their first game before they play the formal T20 Blast matches, so it’s a good warm-up for them.

“And it’s a great opportunity for some of our club players to excel in the best sort of environment.

“We’ve had a lot of league players go on to make the grade at Essex county level, and it’s a great opportunity for some youngsters to make that first step.

“The ECB have come down a couple of times and watched the game and said what a great experience it is for the clubs to have such a close relationship with the county board and the county cricket club.”

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