ESSEX Eagles secured their first NatWest T20 Blast win of the season, as they defeated Somerset by 22 runs at Chelmsford.

Eagles captain Ryan ten Doeschate top scored for the hosts after notching a half-century.

And his innings, along with impressive bowling from Simon Harmer and Paul Walter, allowed Essex to seal victory at Somerset.

After being put in to bat first, Eagles openers Varun Chopra and Dan Lawrence – back in the team following Tamim Iqbal’s abrupt exit – got the innings off to a good start.

But Lawrence, who had hit three early boundaries, was bowled by Lewis Gregory for 14 to give Somerset their first wicket.

With his first ball, Tom Westley dispatched Gregory’s delivery for four.

Lawrence’s fellow opening batsman Chopra was the next man to go.

On 10 runs, Chopra had been dropped. But with the very next ball, the batsman sliced a Craig Overton delivery high into the sky and Tim Groenewald took a good catch.

And with just 5.2 overs played, Westley’s leg stump was removed by Groenewald for 10.

By the end of the powerplay, the Eagles were only on 36/3 and in need of stability.

And the experienced duo of Ravi Bopara and ten Doeschate brought the Eagles’ 50 up by rotating the strike regularly.

Growing in confidence, both batsmen then began to find the boundary.

At the halfway stage of the home side’s innings, Essex were on 72/3 and Bopara and ten Doeschate had steadied the ship.

With the very next ball, the Eagles skipper struck a Roelof van der Merwe delivery over the top for six and then a four followed past the bowler.

Bopara was then on his way back to the pavilion, for 24, thanks to a superb catch from Max Waller. The spin bowler’s delivery was struck firmly by the England international, but Waller was able to get both hands on the ball and take the catch.

Big-hitter Ashar Zaidi had been threatening a six from the moment he came to the crease and it came off his ninth ball, off the bowling of Waller, to bring up three figures for the Eagles. Off the next ball, Zaidi did exactly the same, with his shot clearing the stands.

Ten Doeschate and Zaidi struggled to find the boundary for some time, but a four from the Eagles captain brought up the 50 partnership with three overs remaining.

And a quick two from the Dutchman brought up a 34-ball half-century.

Ten Doeschate then went onto hit another boundary before being well caught on the boundary by Overton, off the bowling of van der Merwe, for 56.

But Zaidi reacted by hitting a six towards the pavilion off the very next ball.

However, Foster returned a ball back to the bowler, who quickly turned and knocked off the bails before Zaidi could get back to his crease.

Two fours off the final two balls from Walter meant Essex’s innings came to an end on 170/6.

Somerset got their innings off to a steady start, but Jamie Porter, who has been in superb form for Essex in the County Championship, took the wicket of Johann Myburgh. The opening batsman skied Porter’s delivery and Harmer took the catch to remove Myburgh for seven.

Bopara then came within a whisker of removing Peter Trego, as a brilliant diving stop and quick throw removed the bails. But the batsman had managed to register a single just in time.

Somerset captain Jim Allenby was then sent back to the pavilion for 25.

The skipper sent a Harmer delivery high and ten Doeschate got underneath it to make a simple catch.

A few balls later, Trego followed Allenby from the crease as he sent a Harmer delivery straight down Westley’s throat on the boundary.

Bopara then entered the attack and, with his sixth ball, took the wicket of Steve Davies.

The Somerset wicketkeeper’s slight edge found the gloves of Foster and Davies was walking for four.

The visitors were struggling to hit boundaries and the required run rate had creeped above 11 per over. But then James Hildreth hit a six over the head of spin bowler Zaidi to give Somerset hope.

Bopara bowled tight, with a number of dot balls, but Hildreth ended the all-rounder’s good spell with the ball by striking another maximum.

Harmer took his third wicket thanks to a superb diving catch from ten Doeschate to remove big-hitting Hildreth for 27, which left Somerset teetering on 96/5.

Mohammad Amir, who was very economical with figures of 1-17 from four overs, then got in on the act as he removed Adam Hose for 15 following a good catch from wicketkeeper Foster.

Gregory, who had been one of Somerset’s most dangerous bowlers, was removed for 23.

Walter had been hit for 10 off two balls before his next ball was edged behind to Foster.

Going into the final over, Somerset required 28 runs. But Overton was caught on the boundary by Lawrence, for six, to hand Walter her second wicket.

And his third wicket came soon after, with Groenewald walking back to the pavilion for a duck.

Somerset fell short and ended on 148/9 to hand the Eagles their first win of the NatWest T20 Blast campaign.