Essex batsman Tom Westley

How a lack of distraction from The Hundred has Tom Westley aiming for Essex glory

Tom Westley says Essex are hoping to benefit from being snubbed for The Hundred by being victorious in the Royal London Cup.

The captain scored 87 not out on Sunday to help the Eagles beat Middlesex by nine wickets and make it two wins from two in the 50-over competition.

It is a tournament which has been put on the backburner this summer with it taking place simultaneous to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new franchise league, where eight new clubs face 100 balls each with a variety of different rules for the format.

Essex, despite clinching Vitality Blast success in 2019 and reaching the Royal London Cup knockout stage in two of the last three seasons, are one of several counties sparsely represented in The Hundred with England batsman Dan Lawrence (London Spirit) and bowler Sam Cook (Trent Rockets) the only men’s players from the club involved in the inaugural edition.

Westley said: “A lot of guys were overlooked for The Hundred and wrongfully I would say. We don’t have any representation from management or the hierarchy either.

“I guess it was always going to be the case, but their loss is our gain I suppose and a strong Essex is brilliant to captain so it is good for me!”

With only Lawrence realistically absent from their first-choice XI, the Chelmsford-based side are one of the favourites to win the Royal London Cup.

Success in the 50-over competition would complete the set for a group of players who have enjoyed a golden era in the club’s history.

Following promotion from Division Two in 2016, Essex have won the County Championship twice, were successful in the Vitality Blast in 2019 and claimed the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy last year.

Tom Westley: “Any final is fantastic”

“The Royal London Cup is a 50-over competition with a Trent Bridge final. Any final is fantastic and especially if you are playing at a Test ground – that is what you want,” Westley added.

“I suppose it would complete the set. We set out to win every tournament and we have been successful in the four-day stuff, we won the T20 in 2019, so I would love to win this competition.

“I just want to win trophies. Been at the club for quite a while and we’ve had a purple patch over the last five years so it would be brilliant to continue that because the dynamics in the changing room are changing.

“Guys are getting older but if we keep winning and the youngsters keep coming on like they are then it bodes well for the future.”

As the second week of The Hundred starts with a women and men’s double-header between Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers at Trent Bridge, Essex will hope they are lifting silverware at the same venue on August 19.

In Sunday’s TCP, regular columnist Richard Clarke, AKA The Grumbler, wrote on how the 50-over game has fallen flat and its speed of play distorted from what is now on offer.

“The crash, bang, wallop of the T20 has changed the way we perceive the cadence of limited-overs cricket.

“As it took hold, the 50-over fare started to feel flat for long periods. The introduction of the inner ring meant sides were incentivised to start quickly and the end was still hectic but the middle overs of each innings, well over a third of the game, dragged in comparison to what we were now conditioned to expect.

“You can see the same process in microcosm in T20 cricket today. Until the end of the sixth over, the Powerplay demands offence, as does the last four whether you have wickets in hand or not. But a couple of dismissals in the middle often leads to a lull as the batting side scaffolds their innings.”

Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures

July 27: Gloucestershire v Worcestershire

Hampshire v Sussex

Middlesex v Durham

Derbyshire v Warwickshire

Surrey v Nottinghamshire

July 28: Kent v Lancashire

Somerset v Glamorgan

Yorkshire v Northamptonshire

July 29: Durham v Gloucestershire

Warwickshire v Leicestershire

Essex v Worcestershire

July 30: Middlesex v Hampshire

Sussex v Kent

Derbyshire v Glamorgan

Nottinghamshire v Somerset

Surrey v Northamptonshire

August 1: Essex v Kent

Hampshire v Lancashire

Sussex v Gloucestershire

Worcestershire v Middlesex

Northamptonshire v Derbyshire

Nottinghamshire v Leicestershire

Somerset v Yorkshire

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