Cricket: Essex desire key says ten Doeschate
PUBLISHED: 09:26 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 27 September 2019
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Essex skipper Ryan Ten Doeschate pinpointed the desire of the players as pivotal to adding the Specsavers County Championship title to Vitality Blast glory.
They claimed a second trophy in the space of five days by holding out for a draw against title rivals Somerset in an exciting climax at Taunton.
Somerset forced Essex to bat for an hour after bowling them out for 141 either side of the tea interval and forfeiting their second innings.
"It would be easy to say we're the best team in the country," said Ten Doeschate after Essex, set 63 to win, had closed on 45-1.
"We've improved so much and we've done it over two formats. But our white-ball stuff was a bit scrappy and we sneaked through. What has really impressed me is the desire of the guys to keep going.
"In county cricket you're not going to be at your best every day. I've always said 95 per cent of the battle is turning up every day.
"We've been very good at turning up every day and giving our best. We've lost only once and there have been a couple of games that we have turned round after being dead and buried."
With more than 200 overs lost on the opening three days, Essex - who needed to avoid defeat to win a second Championship title in three years - were always in the box seat.
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But the contribution of former England captain Alastair Cook was to prove a calming influence as Essex nerves became frayed in the final three hours.
Cook called on all of his experience to make 53 and 30 not out, depriving Somerset of a first pennant in their 144-year history.
"This is the reason I carried on," Cook said. "The guys wanted me to play, I wanted to play and I wanted to win trophies. I really enjoy county cricket, it's a bunch of lads I play with every day.
"You hope you can add a bit to the environment and score a few runs, and to win a trophy at the end of it is really special.
"I'm really happy for our coach Anthony McGrath, who took over from Chris Silverwood. That's a tough job when you have won a league (under Silverwood) for the first time in 25 years.
"But he's moved it forward in his own way and it's been a real special year for the club."
Somerset were in pole position to win their first Championship title before losing their penultimate game at Hampshire.
But they were cast in the role of bridesmaids again after finishing runners-up for the fifth time in 10 seasons.
Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: "We're feeling a lot of frustration and a lot of disappointment. I genuinely believed if the weather had not intervened this week it would have been a different story.
"We gave it a good crack and put them under pressure. It got exciting for a while, but it wasn't to be. But once the dust settles we'll look back on a season where we played some good cricket."