barring wides, it's all over! On the front foot, and pushed to point. And that is the end of that!
5.50pm So, that wraps up the live action, Congratulations to Essex, commiserations to Somerset, and well done the ECB for getting a competition going in this most extraordinary of summers. We've still got the Blast knock-outs to come, but that's it for the first-class season. It's been unexpectedly terrific, from Test level down.
And as you are no doubt aware, this match has been taking place in conjunction with Prostate Cancer UK, the disease which claimed the life of the great Bob Willis in December last year. To make a donation of £10 to the cause, please text "BOB" to 70004 or visit Justgiving.com.
Otaj Ihba: "What a lovely season this has been. Thank you ECB, all the counties, the players, and the ground staff! You've brought a smiles to plenty of faces during these tough times :)"
Abhijato: "I personally enjoyed the intimate nature of this final. There is something quite comforting about watching Sir Cook make another pristine century, with the youngsters pulling up their own boots, and the final hours of this match being played out with a lingering sense of suspense. At the end of the day, the scorecard will tell only half the story. Today was proof that the experience of cricket is what has always set it apart. Cheers!"
Colin Calloway: "An absolute farce of a result, Somerset won it hands down. No more stupid Bob Willis comps where the winners are the losers. " Oh well, there's always one. Here's to next year. Cheers!
Tom Westley: "This is special, especially in the first year as captain, You have to say well played to Somerset, we are two well-matched teams,but you can't look past Alastair Cook in the first innings. That was a massive difference between the teams."
Tom Abell: "Great to be involved in a showpiece final, they got a slight lead going into day four, but we couldn't quite force a result today. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when you come out second, but we had a real good shot at it, we had what it takes to get ten wickets, but we've come up short and it's disappointing. But credit to Essex and particularly Alastair Cook.
"Getting past us was the crucial part of the game. Cookie didnt' give us a sniff but the boys ran in hard, kept asking questions. But it wasn't meant to be."
Off the players go, back to the dressing room.
Here's Ryan Ten Doeschate. "A lot of young stars have come out in this competition and to win has been a bonus. With the weather around getting a lead was the crucial moment, but unfortunately Somerset were forced to set us a score and that's played in our favour.
"Alastair hasn't lost that desire, he's still got that class. Iniitally 230 was a fair declaration, Somerset don't give much away so when we lost those four wickets it was out of reach."
"I want to come back next year, but it's up to the club at the end of the day."
"We are really good on scrappy wickets, Simon is a key member of the team for his weight of wickets, and we've had batters mature all the time. It's been a crazy four years, and we always feel like games are moving forward."
Tom Westley lifts the trophy off its plinth! He takes it off to the sidelines to pose with his team, in front of a smattering of photographers. Fairly subdued scenes, no champagne and the like. But plenty of happy Essex faces, and what's not to like about that?
5.38pm The players are on the outfield now, awaiting the presentations, whatever those may entail in these strange socially distanced times. Lauren Clark, Bob Willis's widow, is on the outfield to give away the trophy that she designed.
5.30pm Handshakes all round, and elbow bumps and the rest of it. Essex are the Bob Willis Trophy champions after a fiercely fought final, and they confirm a golden era for the club with their fourth first-class trophy in five years!
In the end, Somerset were found out by a formidable team, driven by a formidable man in Sir Alastair Cook, whose majestic 172 was the decisive innings of the match. That said, in Eddie Byrom and Tom Lammonby, Somerset responded with two superb hundreds of their own, and with six wickets in the first innings, Lewis Gregory left nothing behind in his bid for the trophy. Sam Cook, a first-innings five-for, was also instrumental in Essex's win. There's been quality in abundance throughout these five days.
Dave: "I agree a shared trophy would be better and I'm an Essex fan. No need for a first innings over limit either in a five day match. I don't like teams winning without taking 20 wickets, but I accept it in the shorter games to move things on. I think we have been robbed of a more exciting last day." There's truth in that, but the first innings limit was imposed to protect bowlers in these curious post-furlough times. And there's some logic in that.
Shashank: "After a special from Cook, I would like thank one more Essex legend former cap Tendo, he has always been there for us when team needed to rebuild after collapse or up the ante after a good start, hope this isn't the last time we see him in an Essex shirt"
Ben: "Congrats to Essex, deserving of the win over the 5 days. Somerset not being able to bowl them out twice after such dominance before this really tells you all you need to know. Interesting how Somerset go next year with the points deduction " Indeed. It really would be sod's law for them to finish the season 11 points clear...
riding the bounce, pressed to the off side.
Some understandably glum body language among the fielders now
banged into the deck outside off, Harmer angles a prod to point
JrSuede: "Now bowl 4 wides and stump them in order. "
short leg flings himself across the pitch to no avail. Somerset need four wickets in the final over .... where's Lasith Malinga when you need him?
Simon Harmer, on a pair, is the new man. Four close catchers for Leach's final ball, with Wheater on strike
Martin S: "BWT has been a great little competition, the only thing they've got wrong is the first innings lead decider - it's spoiled many a Sheffield Shield final too"
walloped across the line, and Tendo holes out to midwicket! Technically, it's not over yet! Maybe the temptation of that half-century was too great, a chance to free the arms but he spooned it. And now it's four wickets in seven balls for Somerset!
poked firmly into the covers. It's almost done now
hurried this time as Leach fires in a flatter delivery, hustled to cover
head over the ball and blocked back to the bowler
tapped to the on-side, closing the face on the front foot
Stampy: "Interesting that, us usual, nobody complained about the rules BEFORE the match. I guess it's all about who you support and what side they come out on. But it seems these days it's rare that we have a competition where somebody doesn't criticise after the event."
closes the face on a full length, tucked to the on-side
leaning into the defensive push to cover
hurried defence, attacking the pads, and squeezed to the on-side
edged, down through the sparse cordon, never a chance as that fizzes through fourth slip to the keeper
sharp bouncer, and swished uncomfortably off the head! Good surprise option, and hauled behind square with a rush of bat across the line
flinched to cover on the front foot,
Stuart : "I'll agree, Andrew that it's been a decent match and you can't fault the quality of players who have proved their worth but the final format really does put too much emphasis on a first innings lead. Get over that line and you can then slow the game right down. Essex have every right to do that and yes, Somerset could have pulled the plug overnight but it just seemed to lack something which a Championship four dayer might have offered with batting points, bowling points and pushing for a win. "
solid, and blocked on the front foot. It's nearly done and dusted
forward on the full length once again. Nope, no way through
shorter, rare width as Leach goes for a big ripper, steered out to point
Ben: "Rose, that was a test match. This is a one off match, a show piece for the sport, deciding a championship contested over a couple of months. To win with a draw is not ideal. Sharing the trophy would be better than this, Essex would have gone for the win too"
patted down into the crease as short leg flings himself forward. Eager but no cigar
tapped off the pads, out to deep midwicket
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