Bopara century leads Essex victory
Essex 258 and 360 for 4 beat Glamorgan 282 and 335 by six wickets
An unbeaten century from Ravi Bopara, who shared in a partnership of 217 with Matt Walker, carried Essex to a superb six-wicket triumph over Glamorgan at Chelmsford. It was their first Championship victory of the campaign and came after they had started the final day on 34 for 1 in pursuit of a formidable target of 360.
Bopara and Walker joined forces after Alastair Cook departed for a fluent 79 with the total on 123, and rarely looked in difficulty before Walker was dismissed just three short of his 100. The fourth-wicket pair drove and cut with infinite ease as Essex registered a victory which lifts them off the foot of the Division Two table.
Bopara moved to his 100 from 181 deliveries with the aid of 13 boundaries, and by the time the winning post was reached he had added a further four in his final contribution of 136. Walker's 97 included 13 fours and it was while attempting another to move into three figures that he was caught at deep mid-wicket by William Bragg to give the toiling Dean Cosker his second success.
By then Essex were only 21 short of their objective but Walker had the consolation of figuring in a new Essex fourth-wicket record stand against Glamorgan, surpassing the 200 featuring Ken McEwan and Keith Pont at Leyton in 1975.
Following defeats at the hands of Kent and Middlesex in two of their opening three matches, this success was just the tonic Essex needed. But just before lunch it looked as though the match had swung back in Glamorgan's favour with the removal of Cook.
He produced some punishing strokes either side of the wicket and was in such control that it came as a surprise when he flicked at a ball from Adam Shantry down the leg side to give wicketkeeper Mark Wallace a simple catch.
Cook's effort contained 14 fours and his dismissal came after Cosker had trapped Jaik Mickleburgh lbw in his first over of the day with the total on 73. The left-arm spinner bowled 27 overs interrupted only by lunch before he was removed from the attack.
And in total he sent down 40 overs in picking up his two wickets at a cost of 108. Essex picked up 21 points for their first Championship victory in 10 matches stretching back to the beginning of last July, while Glamorgan collected five.