Gary Ballance reflected on today’s Royal London Cup Eliminator defeat to Essex at Chelmsford, admitting: “We don’t want to dwell on this loss too much because the lads have made massive improvements and know they can perform at first-team level.”

Yorkshire were beaten by 129 runs chasing 318, and Essex advance to the semi-final to face Glamorgan at Cardiff on Monday.

The Vikings, having won four games in this competition, had qualified for the knockout stages with 10 players missing to the Hundred and fielded six List A debutants.

They suffered a damaging collapse from 68-1 to 102-6, the latter being captain Ballance falling as one of three wickets for the part-time spin of Tom Westley.

In all, seven of the 10 Yorkshire wickets fell to spin, including two apiece to Simon Harmer and Aron Nijjar.

Earlier, Essex advanced from 123-3 after 30 overs to post 317-7.

“It’s disappointing to lose,” said Ballance.

“I actually think we bowled well for the whole innings. They just got away from us in the last 10-12 overs.

“A few of their lads played well and gave them the momentum.

“With the batting, we lost too many wickets in the middle overs. When you’re chasing a big score, it’s quite hard to recover from that.

“But, credit to the lads, we’ve played some very good cricket over the last few weeks. There’s a lot of guys who’ve made a lot of improvements, have learnt a lot and will be better for the experience.”

Ballance went on: “We were thinking anything under 300 we would have been happy with.

“Even the total they got, we were confident of chasing it down on a decent pitch with a fast outfield.

“We just needed one person to get a big score and the rest to bat around them. But they bowled well in the middle overs with their spinners.

“We knew the beginning would be hard to start against the new ball.

“There was some uneven bounce from a good length.

“The lads (Will Fraine and Will Luxton) did brilliantly to get through that and give us a chance. They got going, but unfortunately we lost too many wickets in the middle overs.”

Ballance captained the Vikings through the second half of the competition and added: “The guys have such good character and attitude, and they hate losing. They are gutted about today.

“But I’ve loved it. I’ve enjoyed captaining and being around these guys. Hopefully I’ll be able to play a lot more games with them in the future.”

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