Search

Dan Lawrence was the man for Essex during a tough start and it proved so crucial in County Championship Division One title win

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 October 2017

Daniel Lawrence acknowledges the crowd after helping Essex to a draw against Lancashire (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Daniel Lawrence acknowledges the crowd after helping Essex to a draw against Lancashire (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Classy batsman reflects on memorable campaign and what the future holds ahead of a trip to Australia with the England Lions squad

Dan Lawrence of Essex has been named Cricket Writers' Club Young Player of the Year (pic: Steve Paston/PA)Dan Lawrence of Essex has been named Cricket Writers' Club Young Player of the Year (pic: Steve Paston/PA)

It is easy to say it in hindsight, yet you can’t help but wonder how Essex would have fared in the County Championship this season had Dan Lawrence not saved them in their Division One opener against Lancashire.

The classy batsman, who was only 19 at the time of the match at the beginning of April, struck an unbeaten 141 against an attack containing James Anderson.

It helped Essex survive four sessions and end on 316-6 chasing an improbable 478 to win at the County Ground, which ensured they didn’t make a losing start.

Lawrence was wonderfully modest when quizzed about the innings, but after that draw, Ryan ten Doeschate’s team slowly made their mark and the rest is history, as they went on to win 10 times during the next 13 fixtures and in the process become Division One champions for the first time since the class of 1992.

“A few people have said it was a key moment, but it didn’t feel like it at the time,” admitted the former Trinity Catholic High School student when asked about his ton against Lancashire.

“I do think we would have been all right even if we had lost that game, but just to get off to an unbeaten start was important.

“Of course if we hadn’t drawn that match then we wouldn’t have had this season where we haven’t lost once, but it is not me. It is hats off to the bowlers that have done the job and it has been great to have Alastair (Cook) around and everyone else. It’s been really special.”

After Essex had drawn two of their opening three games, the likes of Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer began to get on a roll for the 2016 Division Two winners.

Daniel Lawrence of Essex takes a drink from the County Championship trophy (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Daniel Lawrence of Essex takes a drink from the County Championship trophy (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

In the end the pair claimed 147 scalps between them and were crucial during a period when ten Doeschate’s side won five fixtures in succession to suddenly be on the verge of sealing the title.

Lawrence added: “We had a tough start, but thankfully we managed to salvage a couple of draws and we just found ways to win games every time we stepped onto the pitch.

“How we have managed to go a season without losing once in the division is beyond me and you have to say hats off to Simon and Jamie because they have been unbelievable, but everyone has chipped in at different times, so it’s been incredible.”

Porter and Harmer, deservedly so, take a lot of the plaudits, but Lawrence is right and everyone at Essex will tell you this has truly been a team effort.

Nick Browne scored close to a thousand runs again, while Cook hit three centuries and eight players scored a hundred during the season.

A glance at the bowlers and Neil Wagner’s haul of 31 wickets was crucial, while Mohammad Amir and Sam Cook chipped in when called on by ten Doeschate.

The end result was Essex being crowd champions with a points total of 248, some 72 ahead of their nearest challengers Lancashire, which brings us back to that first game of the campaign.

If the Red Rose had dismissed Lawrence early at Chelmsford on day four of the season opener and rolled the hosts over quickly it may have been so different for both clubs.

Daniel Lawrence celebrates scoring a half-century (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Daniel Lawrence celebrates scoring a half-century (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

But although Essex’s talented right-hander was reluctant to label his first Division One century as a pivotal moment for the team, he admitted it was important for his own self-belief.

Lawrence said: “I have always been a player who has aspirations to play at the highest level, but I was quite anxious going into the season to see what the step up was like, so to get an early score was very special.

“The personal highlight for me would be that Lancashire game and that hundred because I proved to myself that I could score runs in the first division and it helped the team start without a defeat.”

It wasn’t the only contribution Lawrence would make, though, with the Chingford star reaching three figures twice more and ending up with 761 runs.

He finished with an average of 44.76 and was more prolific than Ben Foakes and James Vince despite a run of eight Division One games without passing fifty during June and August.

A gutsy 75 at Lord’s in a drawn match with Middlesex in April was important, while a classy 107 against Surrey in a stalemate at Chelmsford in May highlighted his obvious quality again.

Even during his run without a fifty, Lawrence still managed to be at the crease when Essex secured wins at the Kia Oval (32 not out) and Headingley.

Then came a productive end with 78 at Warwickshire and 101 at Hampshire, before 83 in the last match with Yorkshire.

Lawrence admitted it is hard to have a perfect season, but he was “happy” with his 2017 and now a trip to Australia with the England Lions squad awaits.

He concluded: “I just want to keep trying to help Essex win games and establish myself in the side, and then hopefully if all goes well I can play international cricket, which is my main aim.”

You suspect it won’t be long before he achieves that goal...

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

14:30

National League: Eastleigh 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

The 1910s and 1940s were defined by wars. The 70s had power shortages. The 80s the wars on drugs started.

A grandfather’s battle with stage four lung cancer has inspired his daughter and two granddaughters to cut their hair in an event to raise funds for a charity.

Join the Citizens’ Panel today and help us shape local health services.

Yesterday, 17:00

Artist and Dagenham resident for 30 years, Desiree Ntolo speaks about her passion for the borough, the need to look out for the less fortunate and fly-tipping

Yesterday, 17:00

Barking manager Justin Gardner has piled the pressure on Maldon & Tiptree by saying they have to win their Bostik North match this weekend.

Yesterday, 16:54

Drivers using Lodge Avenue and Ripple Road are being warned to expect delays this weekend due to emergency gas works.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Barking and Dagenham is home to Better Extreme, London’s largest indoor skatepark. Whatever your discipline, be it skateboarding, inline, BMX or scootering, there’s a challenge waiting for you.

Barking Sporthouse has a wide range of fun things to do with your children this summer

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now