Essex aim to keep Somerset waiting in Bob Willis Trophy final

Essex's Jamie Porter: Title target. Picture: PAEssex's Jamie Porter: Title target. Picture: PA
Essex's Jamie Porter: Title target. Picture: PA
Essex seamer Jamie Porter expects to be tussling for titles with Somerset for years to come but is desperate to stay on top in the rivalry by winning this week’s Bob Willis Trophy final.

While the entire format of county cricket’s red-ball competition was changed as a result of the pandemic, with the two division structure revised into three geographical groups, the identity of the teams who will take the field in a five-day Lord’s showpiece are entirely familiar.

Essex edged Somerset to claim their second County Championship in 2019 in three years, while the sides finished third and second in 2018 – painting a picture of two dominant clubs. Porter does not expect that to change any time soon but knows his side have established an edge and wants to keep it that way.

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“I’m happy that it’s Somerset we are playing at Lord’s because, apart from us, they are the best side out there,” he claimed.

“We do believe we are the best side in the country and that comes off the back of our achievements. We want to defend the title, even though it’s not the same one this year.”

Somerset captain Tom Abell believes his side have proven they can hold their nerve.

The club’s inability to win the County Championship in 129 years of trying precedes them – they have finished runners-up six times this century, with three in the last four seasons.

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Abell makes no attempt to shy away from Somerset’s past but he pointed out they are no nearly men after winning last year’s Royal London One-Day Cup.

Abell said: “I guess there is pressure associated because a lot gets made about the number of times we’ve come second. But we won a final last year so that was a big thing. We know we can deliver under pressure.”

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