Half centuries for Pete and Roelof can't prevent defeat at Essex

Peter Trego and Roelof van der Merwe both made half centuries but their efforts couldn’t prevent Somerset from suffering a second defeat in this years Royal London One-Day Cup against Essex Eagles at the CloudFM County Ground.

160 from Varun Chopra, his highest score in List A cricket, plus a surprise five-wicket haul from Shane Snater helped the home side to a 40 run win.

Chopra shared a 141-run stand for the fourth wicket in 27 overs with Ravi Bopara, who hit 73, and 50 in 28 balls with Ryan ten Doeschate for the fifth wicket. Even so, the Eagles only edged beyond 300 thanks to 98 runs in the last 10 overs after they managed a parlous 42 runs between overs 11 and 24.

In pursuit of 314, Somerset lost two wickets to Neil Wagner inside the first six overs. Steve Davies fell lbw for two and Johann Myburgh, having hit successive boundaries, was caught behind. Trego and James Hildreth settled into a 69-run partnership in 13 overs that righted the Somerset response until three wickets fell in the space of 17 balls.

Snater had bowled a succession of wides and long hops, but had the prized scalp of James Hildreth as his first Essex wicket. Hildreth, who had scored 281 in three previous Royal London One-Day Cup games this season, chipped the ball up to Ashar Zaidi at mid-on for 24.

Snater had a second wicket seven balls later when Trego got a leading edge and lobbed it back to the bowler. Trego, who hooked Wagner for six, had reached his half-century from 49 balls just three deliveries earlier. When he went off after five overs, Snater had two for 37 and had bowled five wides and one no-ball.

Simon Harmer trapped Matt Renshaw lbw but Tom Banton posted his highest List A score of 40 in a 65-run stand with van der Merwe that frustrated Essex for 13 overs. Unfortunately the England Under-19 batsman became Snater’s third wicket, when he hammered the ball back to the bowler. Wagner’s return then accounted for Craig Overton.

Van der Merwe continued to offer resistance and reached a 47-ball fifty with a six off Ashar Zaidi, but then swept Snater high to deep mid wicket on 61 where Tom Westley took the catch. Jamie Overton followed when he lofted Bopara to Harmer on the wide mid-on boundary, and defeat was confirmed when Sam Cook took a catch over his shoulder to give Snater his fifth wicket with 11 balls to go.

After being put in by Trego after the toss, the Essex openers had 33 on the board in six overs when Adam Wheater bounced down the wicket and hit Craig Overton straight to van der Merwe at cover. The same bowler then accounted for Westley lbw for four.

When Dan Lawrence chipped up Trego’s slower ball tamely to Hildreth at cover, Essex had lost three key wickets in seven overs for 37 runs.

Chopra increased the rate but the runs dried up against Trego and Tim Groenewald. Indeed, there were 44 deliveries between boundaries. Bopara eventually reached 50 from 69 balls with one four, a six and a lot of nurdled singles. Chopra reached three figures from 114 balls before Bopara tried to run Groenewald down to third man, but only succeeded in edging behind.

As the innings entered the final 10 overs, the scoring tempo increased courtesy of ten Doeschate before he picked out Jamie Overton at deep midwicket to spark a tumble of six wickets for 52 runs.

Zaidi was caught on the rope for a five-ball 11 and Harmer holed out in similar fashion to ten Doeschate whilst Wagner gave Groenewald a third wicket with a chipped shot straight to Max Waller at mid-off

Chopra was finally out, caught just behind square and the innings was wrapped up a ball later when Cook failed to beat Waller’s throw.

For the match scorecard click here

After the match Trego said: “We’re disappointed to lose the game. Chopra and Bopara’s innings were fantastic and they put a great partnership on and ran us ragged a bit. That was pretty much the 50 runs in the game. Their running between the wickets and our occasional sloppy fielding.

“I thought they got 30, 40, 50 even, more than they should have done. There was a point where they were three down and going at four and a half an over, so you think the 250 mark is where you want to be, but due to some exceptional play they got a few more than that. We have to dust ourselves off, learn the lesson and come back on Sunday and put it right.”

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