Cricket: Ten Doeschate delights as Essex return to top
PUBLISHED: 19:39 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:39 18 September 2019
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Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate admitted it felt good to be back at the top of the County Championship table after their innings & 40-run win over Surrey.
Having heard the news that title rivals Somerset - eight points ahead going into the penultimate round of matches - had lost at Hampshire, the 2017 champions saw Simon Harmer leave the defending champions in a spin with a seven-wicket haul.
And ten Doeschate was pleased to see his side rise to the challenge ahead of their trip to Taunton next week, saying: "It's a nice position to be in. Even a few points behind changes the dynamic of the whole week, weather comes into it as well, but we've given ourselves an incredible chance to win the championship again.
"In fairness to Somerset, they've been incredible as well, nine wins for both teams is good going. You can't afford to slip up in the championship - you can literally only do it once or twice and the chance to win the championship is gone.
"I'm particularly happy especially with the pressure being on this week, keeping a close eye on what was going on at the Rose Bowl. To get the job done here in such emphatic fashion is really pleasing."
Seamers Sam Cook (5-53) and Jamie Porter (5-62) had done the damage with the ball in Surrey's first innings 174, before Dan Lawrence (147) and ten Doeschate (103) shared a 173-run stand on day two to put Essex firmly on top.
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Harmer hit 50 off 46 balls to lift their total to 395, before returning figures of 34.2-14-58-7 as the visitors succumbed to 181 all out second time around.
Ten Doeschate added: "We knew Simon was going to be key. We saw when we were batting that there wasn't going to be much there for the seamers.
"Not having an overseas bowler for the last three games we've got a lot of faith in Aaron Beard. 'Ports' and 'Cookie' are tried and tested and we know what they're like. I just think the fact we've gone without the overseas bowler in these games is testament to how good those guys have been.
"One of Simon's biggest attributes is that he stands up when he's needed. He thrives on these occasions. He wants to play in the big game and he makes things happen with the ball. Today again underlines the sort of player he is. He turned our innings into a match-winning, unassailable lead and then follow it up with the ball, he's a special cricketer."
Ten Doeschate hit 12 fours in his 103 off 122 balls and admitted it felt good to contribute with the bat, saying: "Coming into this game I really felt the pressure of not having scored many runs.
"But I've worked really hard with Huggy [batting coach Tom Huggins] and I've told him he deserves so much credit for going through the frustration with me.
"I've felt pretty good throughout the season without getting the scores so to get this century is a massive weight off my shoulders." Essex now turn their attention to the Vitality Blast T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday, when they meet Derbyshire in the first semi-final.
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