TOM Westley reckons Essex’s Bob Willis Trophy victory is equal to a County Championship crown, writes ALEX SMITH.

Essex drew with Somerset in the final at Lord’s but lifted the trophy after a nervy final day thanks to scoring more first innings runs.

The triumph is their third red ball title in four seasons, to go alongside a Vitality Blast success.

And Westley, who took over the captaincy at the beginning of the season, has ranked all three titles as comparable.

“It is hard to put into words how chuffed I am for the boys,” Westley said.

“It has been a challenging year, at one point we didn’t think we would get any cricket, so to win the Bob Willis Trophy is amazing.

“I am incredibly proud of the boys up there and the management staff.

“We set out the tournament not knowing whether it would be a one-off tournament with a final at Lord’s so that adds an extra specialness.

“We could be the only team in history to win the Bob Willis Trophy and win a five-day county final at Lord’s so it is right up there with the County Championships.

“What has been fitting with this final is that the best two red ball teams over the last few years have played at Lord’s.”

Essex were forced to bat out 80.3 overs to win the Bob Willis Trophy after Somerset set them 237 to win.

But Sir Alastair Cook, Dan Lawrence, Paul Walter, Adam Wheater and Ryan ten Doeschate all spent more than 100 minutes at the crease to see them to the end.

But it was 40-year-old ten Doeschate, who relinquished the captaincy last year, who helped calm Westley’s nerves in the dressing room.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better person out there in that crunch situation,” Westley said. “He has done it for Essex for so many years. It is a testament to him as a leader. I’m hoping for a few more years of him!

“The boys were incredibly calm, they have an unbelievable amount of confidence based on the success we have had over the last few years.

“We have a few jokers in the changing room and they were chilled, I don’t know if they were putting on a front like myself.

“For me internally it has been a bit of a train-wreck all day.”