Willoughby puts down roots at Essex
Essex have signed left-arm seamer Charl Willoughby on a two-year contract.
The 36-year-old departed Somerset at the end of the summer after five years at Taunton and is the second South African to move to the County Ground in the off-season following the arrival of all-rounder Greg Smith from Derbyshire.
Willoughby claimed 347 wickets in 95 first-class matches during his time in the West Country and head coach Paul Grayson revealed Essex had to beat off strong competition from other counties to capture the experienced left-armer.
Grayson said: “I’m delighted with the signing of Charl. He is a very experienced bowler and someone we wanted to add to our ranks alongside David Masters and Graham Napier.
“He is a quality left-arm bowler and we see him also helping Reece Topley and Tymal Mills in their development with his experience and knowledge of the game.
“He is a big signing for us because when it was announced that he was leaving Somerset there were four or five other counties who came in to try and sign him.
“I met him on couple of occasions, talks went well and he wanted to come play for us."
Willoughby, who has also played for Leicestershire, added: “Essex made a concerted effort to come and meet me. Paul Grayson and myself had a long discussion and we discussed my aims and that of Essex. The plan now is for these to come to fruition.
“I obviously have a lot of experience in the game and Paul Grayson wants a wise old head to help David Masters with the bowling attack. Essex have some promising youngsters coming through the ranks and I can certainly pass on some of my knowledge as a left-armer.
“The club is hoping to gain promotion to Division One and succeed in one-day cricket; we hope together as a team that we can achieve these goals.”