Phillips blunts Unicorns
Left-arm spinner Tim Phillips recorded career-best figures of 5-28 from eight overs as Essex hammered the Unicorns by eight wickets at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds.
Phillips removed Josh Knappett, one of only three home players to reach double figures, and then blew away the lower order as the Unicorns could muster only 137 despite 58 from Chris Benham.
They never looked like defending that total and Essex made virtually untroubled progress to 140 for two with 5.5 overs to spare in this Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C contest.
After the Unicorns had chosen to bat, Robin Lett was bowled by Friday’s hat-trick hero Graham Napier.
Michael Thornely made 25 before being trapped in front by David Masters and wicketkeeper Knappett put on 32 with James Campbell until the latter was bowled by Ravi Bopara.
Captain Keith Parsons fell in the same fashion two balls later, as the England hopeful’s seven overs yielded 2-23, and Knappett then became Phillips’ first victim, bowled for 23.
That was 71 for five and Benham was left to guide the tail, the next four wickets grinding out 27 runs in a little over 10 overs.
Phillips took all of them, Neil Saker offering limited support to Benham before Amar Rashid and Glen Querl made it three second-ball ducks in the innings. Dan Wheeldon fared little better.
Benham then cut loose, the bulk of his seven fours coming in a stand of 39 with last man Tom Craddock, who was obliged to face just nine balls in 34 minutes for his one not out.
The expensive Lonwabo Tsotsobe returned to claim top-scorer Benham, caught by Matt Walker, and Essex were left to chase just 138.
Openers Mark Pettini and Alastair Cook made a fine start with a stand of 53 before England’s new one-day captain was bowled by Saker for 38 from 40 balls, which contained seven fours.
Napier launched one six but otherwise failed to live up to his big-hitting reputation before Benham, as catcher, and bowler Craddock once more teamed up to good effect.
Pettini and Bopara, though, progressed to the winning post in serene fashion, the former reaching an unbeaten 48 from 100 balls while Bopara made 29 from 46, hitting Benham’s first ball for four to finish the match.