County Championship: Essex win as Lancashire run-chase falls short
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford (day three):|
|Essex 150 & 313: Foster 69, Westley 49, Harmer 49; Mennie 3-47|
|Lancashire 144 & 288: Clark 59, Mennie 56; Porter 4-54|
|Essex (19 pts) beat Lancashire (3 pts) by 31 runs|
Defending champions Essex claimed their first success of the new season by bowling out Lancashire for 288 to win by 31 runs on day three at Chelmsford.
Chasing a target of 320, the visitors lost openers Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings with only 32 on the board.
Alex Davies (71) and Jordan Clark (59) batted well, but both went leg-before-wicket to pace bowler Jamie Porter.
The Essex man then ended the game by removing Joe Mennie for 56 to finish with 4-54 and match figures of 9-80.
Despite struggling in bowler-friendly conditions in their first innings, it was an excellent performance by Essex after seeing no play at all over the four days in Yorkshire last week.
Porter struck in only the second over of play when he produced a beauty to beat Hameed's forward defensive stroke and hit the top of off stump, sending him on his way for a duck.
Jennings followed when he was taken at first slip off Peter Siddle, but Davies and Liam Livingstone laid a foundation for Lancashire by adding 56 together.
Paul Walter sent back Livingstone (23) and Shiv Chanderpaul in successive overs then, after Davies had reached a 66-ball half-century, Porter pinned him in front with a full-length ball.
After adding 48 for the ninth wicket with Mennie, Clark departed to leave the score 243-8, quickly followed by Graham Onions.
Matt Parkinson then came in to add 42 in 11 overs for the last wicket with Mennie, including three sixes from the Australian, but Porter ended it all by uprooting his off stump.
Essex's former Australia Test bowler Peter Siddle:
"We always knew it was going to be hard work. We just needed to bowl well and control the game.
"For us to bat in the third innings and get over 300 showed it was a decent wicket to bat on.
"We controlled most of it and that put the pressure on them. But it was a little bit closer than we would have liked."
Lancashire assistant head coach Mark Chilton told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"Joe Mennie played wonderfully well at the end there and Matt Parkinson was doing a great job. We know his capability with the bat but, in chases like this, if you're leaving the 10th wicket to chase down 70 runs, it doesn't happen very often.
"We were positive about the chase at the start of the day, the pitch had settled a bit and I thought if we'd played really well we'd have knocked the runs off, but the two wickets after lunch probably hurt us quite a lot.
"After defeats you have to look at areas to improve before the next game but we don't see the value in doing that in the immediate aftermath of the game. We'll try not to overreact to much to two defeats, stick together as a unit and identify things we've done really well."