Paul Grayson admits he will be happy if this year’s Colchester Cricket Festival finishes earlier than planned - if it means Essex secure a vital win.

Castle Park plays host to its inaugural Twenty20 Blast match when Essex Eagles take on Kent Spitfires, on Saturday.

They then follow it up with a four-day County Championship clash with Hampshire, which starts the following day.

Essex are on course to qualify for the T20 Blast quarter-finals, having won eight of their nine games in the competition.

But their County Championship form is more inconsistent and they need to pick up more wins in division two, if they are to challenge the top-two teams for promotion.

And despite a flat wicket expected at Castle Park, head coach Grayson says it is imperative his side claim a crucial victory at Colchester.

He said: “Last year at Castle Park was one of the flattest wickets I’ve seen, which was reflected in the scores.

“The groundstaff put so much effort and energy into producing a good wicket, because they want it to go four days.

“But we’re in the business of winning matches and I would be more than happy if it only lasted three days and we get a victory.

“We’re well aware that in four-day cricket, we’re going to have to win some games if we’re going to catch those top two."

Tickets for the Colchester Cricket Festival, sponsored by Beaumont Seymour, are available at, by phone on 01245 254010 or in person at The Essex County Ground.