Matt Mason admitted Worcestershire lacked application with the bat and struggled with the ball after a disappointing first day in the Specsavers County Championship clash with leaders Essex at Chelmsford.

Worcestershire were bowled out for 230 which in itself represented a recovery from 48-5 thanks to half centuries from George Rhodes and Ben Cox.

Then the County attack managed only one wicket in the final session as Essex scored at four an over and reached 111-1 by the close.

Assistant coach Mason told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Chris Williams: “I think our captain Daryl Mitchell summed it up in the dressing room when he said it was a very, very disappointing day.

"He’s not very happy with us as you can imagine. We probably lacked a bit of application with the bat, particularly early on with some soft dismissals in there.

“Also that last session was probably the poorest we have had as a bowling unit this year, so not an ideal day. A lot of thoughts will go into the lads tonight and hopefully they’ll come back better tomorrow.

“When you win the toss and bat first you want to post 400, let’s be honest.

"It looked a good surface to bat on if a touch slow and if we’d applied ourselves better you could bat and get some good partnerships.

"We’re disappointed, but 230 is something and we’re going to have to do really, really with the ball tomorrow."

Rhodes (59) and Cox (63) led a partial recovery with a sixth wicket stand of 94 and then Joe Leach hit 34.

Mason said: "I thought George in particular, in only his second or third game, to dig in like he did and show a lot of grit and determination, was fantastic.

"Coxy played like he can. He is a fluent player. He always plays an aggressive brand of cricket and probably put them on the back foot for a little while and we got up to some sort of score.

"It's just a shame our bowlers couldn't have done a bit better tonight, got a couple more wickets and kept the run rate down a bit as well.

"But Alastair (Cook) and Tom (Westley) showed if you get in on it and apply yourselves, you can bat well and bat long."

Veteran seamer David Masters returned 7-52 from 21.2 overs including a four wicket burst in 12 balls.

Mason said: “I wouldn’t want to detract anything from Masters’s spell. He did what he’s done for his whole career – he put the ball on the spot, nagged away, nagged away.

"He is very disciplined, but I don’t think we were terrific in defence. But if you put the ball in the right areas, ask lots of questions, you get your reward.

“It could turn out to be a match-winning performance by him yet – but I hope not and we can get back into this game. At the moment, though, Essex are truly in charge.”

David Masters said: “I’m getting a bit older now and can’t play as many games, so when I am playing I’m generally fresh. They’ve looked after me well this year and I’ve played when they’ve needed me to play and hopefully I don’t disappoint.

“I still love it. My body takes a bit more of a battering now and it takes me a bit more time to recover. I still love playing, I love bowling and I enjoyed today.

“It’s quite a docile wicket actually. The shine came off the new-ball and it started to swing and I got the ball in the right areas and that can happen sometimes.

“It’s been a fantastic day and we’ve just finished it off there 100 for one. We’d rather it had been 100 for none, but that’s being greedy, I suppose.

“We know there is so much to do [to win promotion] and at the moment we are taking one day at a time, and just doing what we can in that session and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.

"We know where we are, we’re the team to beat at the top and if we carry on doing the right things we’ll be there or thereabouts.”