Essex County Cricket Club in 2005
Essex County Cricket Club played their cricket during the 2005 season in Division Two of the County Championship and Division One of the Sunday League. They started the season 8-1 to win the Second Division Title, and were second in the Championship table at 9 May, but five matches without a win following that sent them down to fifth place at the Twenty20 break in June. They only intermittently broke into the top three after the Twenty20 break, and when they did their opponents behind them usually had a game in hand. They finished fifth, 15.5 points behind the promotion spot, and with 36 bowling points they picked up the fewest in the entire Division Two. In the National League, however, they only lost once in sixteen games - against Gloucestershire Gladiators in August - and won the League on 28 August with three games to play. In the C&G Trophy, they went out to Lancashire at the second round stage, while they finished fifth in the group stage of the Twenty20 Cup, two points off a guaranteed quarter-final spot.
Essex played 17 first-class games in 2005, winning six, drawing seven and losing four. They also played 18 List A games, winning 14, losing two and having two no-results, and in eight Twenty20 games they won three, lost three and had two no-results.
Their first first-class game of the season was a four wicket win against Cambridge UCCE, as a warm-up before their first County Championship game against Yorkshire, which was drawn after rain fell on all four days. Then there was a rain-affected win in the Sunday League against Hampshire and a mid-week game against Glamorgan, which was abandoned as a 'no result' without a ball being bowled. Essex then beat Somerset by nine wickets in the Championship, chasing 77 to win to go second in the Division Two table, seven points behind Durham.
Cambridge UCCE and Essex started the season at Fenner's Ground in Cambridge. For the first time the Cambridge UCCE team was dominated by players from Anglia Polytechnic University rather than Cambridge University. Cambridge UCCE batted first and completed an innings of 321 on the first day, after being seven down for 139. Matthew Friedlander, who has represented Boland in South Africa, made 81, getting together with Wright, who made 76 to help the students past 300. James Middlebrook took 5 for 54 for Essex. On the second day, Essex put together 307 for 4 declared, although no player scored more than Ravinder Bopara, with 69. Cambridge UCCE scored 64 for 3 by close of play. On the third and final day, Cambridge UCCE piled on more runs, finally declaring on 255 for 4, the top-score of which being 129 not out from Adnan Akram.
This left Essex 270 to win. They lost wickets in doing so, with Palladino taking four wickets, and the students gamely going for a win. However, an all-round performance by Essex finally saw them home with four wickets left.
At Chelmsford, Yorkshire won the toss and put Essex in to bat. Essex lost two of ten wickets on the first day, as Will Jefferson, Essex' 6'10'' opener put on 149 before being out leg before just before the end of the first day's play. Essex captain, Ronnie Irani, said, 'People think his height is a weakness, they try and over-test it they try and pitch it up too much or bowl short too much.' Jefferson could have been run out for 0 after a mix-up with Cook - who fell early for 11 - and was dropped on 6. However, Jefferson was given support by Zimbabwean Grant Flower, who was 55 not out at close, with Essex on 224 for 2, after 26 overs were lost to rain. Seven Yorkshire bowlers were used, but few had any success, and England bowler Matthew Hoggard went wicketless on the first day.
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