Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes says Worcestershire's top order batsmen need to take responsibilty and lay solid foundations after admitting the first morning collapse was a crucial factor in the innings defeat by leaders Essex at Chelmsford.

Worcestershire were left playing catch-up after being reduced to 48-5 on electing to make first use of a good batting surface on which Essex amassed 601-5.

They also lost wickets at regular intervals second time around and only George Rhodes (59 and 41) and Ben Cox (63 and 35) made sizeable contributions in both innnings.

Steve Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Chris Williams: "Let's give some credit to Essex. If they play to their potential and their career statistics, they've got a good outfit which is worthy of where they are in the table.

"When you look at this performance, the bowling of David Masters, the batting of Tom Westley, as well as Cooky, Ravi and ten Doeschate, all played really well and it was difficult for us if they turned up and played their best game, which they did throughout the three days.

"But I think we will put a lot down to that first day and being 48-5. We should have played that new ball a lot better and we had some holes in our defence and some sloppy dismissals which meant we hadn't started the game the way we wanted to do.

"Suddenly momentum is with Essex and, to their credit, they kept it going all the way. We tried to prise it back at stages but some of the performances from senior players were very good."

On the performances of George Rhodes and Cox, Steve Rhodes said: "Both of those at five and seven were trying to do rescue jobs.

"George has come in and done well. He has shown it is not easy prising him out, which is a rerally good trait, and I'm sure his game will develop further.

"Ben has been Mr Reliable in the season as always, with the gloves or the bat, and certainly a guy we can always call upon in a crisis but I think the top order, and they understand that, need to be better.

"Their responsibility when we win the toss and bat is to get us off to a really good start and have a firm foundation and sadly we didn't do that.

"We've got a lot of guys who have probably not performed anything like they can do in this game but it doesn't mean to say they are not trying.

"All of these guys try and it just hasn't worked and it is something we have got to get better, particularly with the batting.

"That top order need to take responsibilty for laying the foundations."

Steve Rhodes said lessons can be learnt from the likes of England skipper Alastair Cook, double centurion Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate in constructing an innings.

He said: "Exactly that. They all did that. Cooky is one of the best examples in world cricket and the amount of runs he has scored internationally for England has been amazing.

"You look at his game and it is based on a very simple plan. Why complicate it and it's not just our youngsters, I'm sure all our players look at Cooky and the way he plays and there are certain things they can copy.

"They are young, they make mistakes, crikey, I made mistakes well into my late 30s but as long as they learn from games like this where Essex have totally outplayed us to be honest.

"These are moments you do need to never forget because there is going to be a day in the future if they stick together and they do improve, which we obviously hope they do, that we are going to play like Essex have done in this game.

"Then they look back and say 'you know what, that happened to us so many times when we were growing as a side.'

"That doesn't detract away from whatever we do, with bat or ball, but we need to start matches well and you can't afford to let the opposition get out of the blocks before we do."