The independent voice of cricket

County Championship 2022

Lancashire and Essex break the wrong sort of records in ‘ridiculous’ low-scoring County Championship game

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Lancashire beat Essex in a low-scoring County Championship clash at Chelmsford, with 40 wickets falling inside a day and a half, and the pitch heavily criticised during the game.

Lancashire managed to win despite no batter making it to 25 in the game, recovering from 7-6 in their third innings. They were bowled out for 131 in the first innings – a score that would end up as the game’s highest total – before restricting Essex to 107 in reply. There were five-fors for Essex’s Simon Harmer and Lancashire’s Tom Bailey, with Sir Alastair Cook (40) the only batter in the game to make it to 25.

Things took an even more dramatic turn when Lancashire came back out to bat on the first (and only) evening of the game, with Shane Snater causing chaos to reduce the away side to 7-6, with a one-day finish a real possibility.

Worsening light forced Essex to turn to spin, with George Bell and Tom Hartley each making brisk 20-odds that would prove pivotal in the final reckoning. Snater added two further wickets the next morning, finishing with 6-10, but given how the game had panned out, Essex’s target of 98 looked far from easy.

And so it proved, despite an opening stand of 24 between Cook and Nick Browne. The pivotal intervention came from 21-year-old George Balderson, who claimed a hat-trick with his second, third and fourth deliveries in the second innings, bowling Cook, having Dan Lawrence caught at square leg, and comprehensively cleaning up Matt Critchley.

At 28-4, Essex were struggling. Tom Westley (13) attempted to hold the innings together, and his dismissal both completed Balderson’s five-for, and effectively confirmed the result, with Essex bowled out for 59 two balls later.

There were several notable statistical highlights from the contest. According to cricket statistician Andrew Samson, Lancashire became the first team in first-class history to win from 8-6 or worse since 1922, with the match the first to feature just one score above 25 since 1967. The combined run-tally in the match, of 370 across both sides, was the lowest in the County Championship since 1980.

Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple had some choice words for the state of the surface after the game’s first day, describing the conditions in the final 30 minutes as “ridiculous”. “No way, shape or form is that good enough,” he said. “We’ve come to play cricket for four days. No way is that good enough.”

Lancashire were understandably jubilant after the game, indulging in their now traditional post-match song, with star names from overseas offering their congratulations.

The result leaves Lancashire in third, out of title contention but with an outside chance of hauling in Hampshire in second place. Essex remain fourth.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99