Centuries from Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate saw the Eagles to a magnificent five-wickets success with 25 balls to spare as they successfully chased down Yorkshire Vikings’ challenge of 291 for victory in the Royal London One-Day Cup clash at Scarborough.
Westley, in such a rich vein of form in white ball cricket this summer, ended unbeaten on 111 whilst skipper Ryan ten Doeschate led from the front with 119 as the pair combined to post a record fifth wicket partnership in List A matches between the two counties.
They put on 209 before being parted when ten Doeschate chased a leg side delivery and was caught at short fine leg by Adam Lyth, but the match was all but over with Essex Eagles now 277 for 5.
There were few amongst the 3,200 windswept crowd who would have fancied the Eagles chances when they set off in pursuit of their opponents daunting 290 for 6, particularly after they found themselves 15 for 3.
The loss of Jesse Ryder with the total on 68 brought further approval from the passionate home supporters but they were to be reduced to a hush when Westley and ten Doeschate started their act of destruction.
Both batsmen struck the ball cleanly and powerfully, and when not collecting boundaries, helped themselves to a plethora of quickly taken singles and twos.
At the halfway stage of the innings, Essex Eagles were 131-4 in contrast to the Tykes 88-3 at the corresponding point and the aggression continued. The duo completed their century partnership in 16 overs and the two hundred stand in 31 overs sparing none of the Yorkshire bowlers.
By the end of the second powerplay, they were 241 for 4 (from 39 overs) and shortly after ten Doeschate reached his century from 86 balls with 13 boundaries, including 6 sixes. Two overs later, Westley, reached his first List a hundred, having faced 120 balls and struck1 six and 8 boundaries.
Essex had made a dreadful start losing their first three wickets in the opening six overs of their reply. A wide to the first ball got the scoreboard ticking over but neither Mark Pettini nor Greg Smith could open their account. Kishen Velani had only collected a single before he too was back in the Pavilion.
Pettini departed to the third legitimate ball of the first over when he gloved a ball from Jack Brooks to wicket-keeper Andrew Hodd and three overs later with the total on 11, Smith drove Tim Bresnan to Kane Williamson at mid -off. Velani was pinned in the crease by Bresnan as he attempted to drive and the Eagles were floundering at 15 for 3.
Jesse Ryder joined Westley and the New Zelander’s typical belligerent approach served him and his side well. He opted for the boundary route to boost his contribution and reached the ropes on seven occasions, clearing them once when he smashed a tile on the Pavilion roof with a superbly timed on-drive. He and Westley had brought about a good recovery with a half-century stand but with the total on 68, left-hander Ryder drove Richard Pyrah to cover point having scored 36.
That dismissal brought about the wonderful liaison between Westley and ten Doeschate that took the Eagles to the cusp of victory when ten Doeschate was dismissed with the visitors needing just 14 more runs to complete the win.
Earlier Jack Leaning had scored his first-ever century for Yorkshire in any form of senior cricket when he reached an unbeaten 111, during which he posted 109 with Andrew Hodd who made 42 as the innings picked up tempo on the latter stages. In the last 146 overs, 146 runs were added including 23 from the 50th and bowled by Graham Napier, but the apparent daunting total proved well within the capabilities of the Eagles.
The Essex Eagles now face Hampshire at The E.C.G on Wednesday with play starting at 2pm for the final home match of the competition.
Jack Leaning struck his first century in any form of cricket for Yorkshire Vikings to set the Eagles a demanding total to chase after the Tykes posted 290 for 6 from the 50 overs after being put in to bat at the toss.
Leaning reached his half-century from 67 balls but then needed only a further 30 to reach three figures that included 3 sixes and 4 other boundaries. He and Andrew Hodd raised the tempo in the latter stages when 146 were added in the last 16 overs, all a contrast to the earlier Eagles bowling that had restricted the home side to just a couple of boundaries in a 16-overs sequence.
Leaning and Hodd gradually played themselves in and once they went into overdrive, it left the visitors with plenty of ball chasing during a fifth wicket partnership of 109 in 13 overs.
Hodd played with plenty of enterprise with an innings of 42 from 39 balls and his powerful combination with Leaning undid the hard work of the Eagles attack in the first half of the innings when Yorkshire were 88 for 3.
The Yorkshire batsmen cleared the ropes on 9 occasions, three times in the 50th and final over when Graham Napier conceded 23 runs.
It was credit to the ground staff that play started on time after the ground had been under water on Sunday yet, assisted by a drying wind, the ground was ship-shape and ready for play of time.
The Tykes openers had posted 26 in 6 overs before being parted when Alex Lees lost his off stump to David Masters having scored 8 and twelve runs later and in the last of the first regulation powerplay overs, Williamson went.
He was undone by some intelligent cricket from David Masters. The batsman, who had only scored 2, advanced down the pitch but the bowler sent the delivery well wide of the off stump that Williamson chased but only succeeded in edging the ball through to James Foster.
It was in the 15th over that a third wicket went down thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Kishen Velani. Answering a call for a single, Adam Lyth was beaten by the direct throw from backward point to the striker’s end.
The opener had taken his score to 38 that included the first 6 of the game when he drilled Graham Napier into the Popular Terrace.
Frugal bowling by the Essex attack saw the home side restricted to 30 runs in ten overs before they found the boundary ropes for the first time in 11 overs when Jack Leaning turned Masters away.
At the halfway stage of their innings, Yorkshire were 88 for 3 and Gale, on 20, was then spared when Tim Phillips was unable to hold onto a difficult return catch.
The batsman soon prospered when collecting his fifth boundary in 53 balls when finding the ropes to give Yorkshire only their second four in 16 overs.
Gale then drove Ryan ten Doeschate for a 6 but having advanced to 45, he picked out Phillips at cover point to give the Eagles captain a wicket and leave the hosts 123 for 4.
Adil Rashid struck a 6 off Phillips but he had only scored 14, when Masters collected his third wicket of the innings and with the third ball of the second powerplay that had started with the score 151 for 5.
From thereon, Leaning and Hodd ruled the roost although Masters claimed his fourth wicket when Hodd attempted a reverse sweep and was bowled for 42 in the penultimate over of the innings although Essex Eagles were left with a stern challenge in pursuit of their third win in the Royal London One-Day Cup Group.
Masters finished with 4 for 34, ten Doeschate 1 for 58 whilst Napier returned 0 for 84, Westley 0 for 14 (5 overs), Phillips 0 for 42 (7 overs) and Topley 0 for 54.