National League success at last but it's Such a shame for Peter

Essex Cricket round-up with David Jackman

IT took long enough coming, but once Essex finally ended their run of home defeats in the National League, the performance was worth the wait.

However against a weak-looking Middlesex line-up, it is not yet clear just how to gauge Sunday's victory.

After 11 successive home defeats in the 45-over competition, Essex returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 60-run success in a match reduced to 23 overs per side because of rain.

Essex's 143 all out relied solely on the fourth wicket partnership of 65 in 48 balls between Nasser Hussain and Danny Law.

Their dismissals came as Essex lost their last seven wickets for just 19 runs in the space of only 25 deliveries.

But the crowd could not have dreamed of what was to follow as Mark Ilott and Ronnie Irani finished with three wickets apiece as Middlesex crashed from 9 for 0 to an incredible 16 for 7 in 24 balls ? and were in grave danger of 'bettering' the lowest ever total, currently 23, in the competition's history.

However some wayward bowling enabled David Nash and James Hewitt to add 53 for the eighth wicket, with 22 of the runs coming in extras.

This Sunday, Essex take on Nottinghamshire at the County Ground, having by then completed their first ppp healthcare Division Two county championship match, against the same opposition.

Early successes ? especially while Nasser Hussain is playing for his club ? could prove crucial later in the season when promotion places will be up for grabs.

In the meantime, many Essex supporters will be asking the question: 'What has Peter Such done wrong?'

Not named in the squads for any of the Benson and Hedges Cup group matches, he must have expected a place in the squad for the first championship match which started yesterday (Wednesday). But no.

England spinner one season, not even playing for his county the next. I thought they said football was 'a funny old game'.