Worcestershire Head Coach Kevin Sharp has given his reaction to the narrow defeat by champions Essex in the Specsavers County Championship clash at Blackfinch New Road.

The County pushed their opponents all the way with Josh Tongue returning match figures of 9-98 and Travis Head hitting 61 as they were bowled out for 182 chasing a 215 target.

Sharp said: “It is a difficult one to take. I’m not sure we’ve really done a lot wrong throughout the game.

“Since the poor performance here against Notts, we went to Surrey and played particularly well and we’ve played some fabulous cricket in this game on a pitch that has done a bit all match.

“I thought just before lunch on the second day that we had got ourselves into a fantastic position, 140-2, and then Travis (Head) was given out caught behind, and then we lost Coxy (Ben Cox) just before lunch and (Ed) Barnard straight afterwards and it evened the game up again.

“I thought we had them (on the ropes) and it was a bit unfortunate and it’s been toe to toe all the way through and could have gone either way.

“We fought hard and we just weren’t able to do it. At one point it looked like we could and everyone is really, really disappointed.

“There are lots of good things to take from it. We’ve gone toe to toe with the champions and finished just short.

“Dan Lawrence and James Foster are good players and I thought they were quite pro-active in their partnership (of 63) this morning.

“For anyone to make runs on that surface, you’ve got to have that little bit of luck as well and players who have made runs in this match have played and missed a lot.

“But you’ve got to earn the right to do that as well and I thought those two played really well and it was a fine innings from Lawrence.

“It was excellent bowling from Josh Tongue. He’s had a bit of an ankle problem this winter and been finding his way again the last few weeks and gaining confidence.

“He’s got there now and you can see that from his performance in this match and I’m sure that the selectors out there will be keeping an eye on him.

“What was said in meeting after game? Similar to what I’ve said to you. It’s not been a post mortem because it’s not been a poor performance.

“We’ve done things well. There are obviously little bits of discipline that we could have managed a bit better but what we’ve good at this year in the debriefs is (discussing) our strengths and where we need to get better.

“In this match particularly it is just disappointing to lose it but it’s not the same feeling as against Notts.

“We were really, really under par and outplayed in that game but this has been a different kettle of fish.

“The team themselves will have a couple of days off now. It has been a long, long four weeks, a lot of cricket. They will be back at the end of the week to practice for the 50 over game on Saturday.

“Travis (Head) is a fine young player, he is an entertainer, he is a good player to watch, he plays some fantastic shots and he is learning how to play in English conditions.

“For all the shots he can play, he knows also how to build an innings and he is finding out how to play in some quite difficult English conditions.

“I know the pitches he has played on have done far more than he has ever seen before.

“That is one of the reasons why the Australian Cricket Board want these lads to come and play here because they want them to get ready for English conditions because there is an Ashes series coming up in 12 months.”