Essex sign Middlebrook and Grant for 2002
Essex have completed their first signing for next season with the capture of 24-year-old James Middlebrook. The off-break bowler made his debut for Yorkshire in 1998 but has been unable to claim a regular place in their side because of strong competition for places despite some impressive displays. He scored 84 when batting at number eight for Yorkshire against Essex at Chelmsford last season and followed up by taking 3-49, and it is hoped that the opportunity of regular first team cricket will see his career flourish. He returned best bowling figures of 6-82 against Hampshire two seasons ago (including 4 wickets in 5 balls) and upon signing for Essex, he said: "My career needed a new direction and hopefully this move will give me the opportunity to establish myself as a first team player. I'm very much looking forward to the chance of playing regular first class cricket with Essex and hopefully I can help them to achieve the success they desire."
The county has also signed right-arm fast bowler Joseph Grant for next season. The 32-year-old has played for Jamaica where he opened the bowling with Courtney Walsh, but he has been domiciled in the UK for some while and has UK citizenship. Therefore he is not classified as an overseas player. Joseph has been playing Yorkshire League cricket and last season represented Cambridgeshire with much success. He made his Essex debut in the final championship match of the season against Yorkshire assisting the side to a victory against the county champions when he concluded the match by taking the final three wickets.
Speaking about the two signings, Chief Executive David East said: "We are delighted that both players have committed themselves to the county and that the rebuilding process has now begun. We believe that James and Joseph can play a significant role in our quest to become successful again."