Essex v Hampshire
LV= Insurance County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Sunday 26 – Wednesday 29 June
Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Paul Walter, Michael Pepper, Adam Rossington (wk), Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook.
Hampshire: Felix Organ, Ian Holland, Nick Gubbins, James Vince (c), Liam Dawson, Ben Brown (wk), Aneurin Donald, Keith Barker, James Fuller, Kyle Abbott, Brad Wheal.
Umpires: Chris Watts & Martin Saggers
Match Referee: Peter Such
Toss: Essex, who elected to bat
Result: Essex win by 12 runs
Scorecard: View Here
Day Three Highlights
Day Three Reaction: Simon Harmer
Day Three Match Report:
Simon Harmer returned his best first-class match haul as Essex stunted Hampshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship charge in a three-day thriller.
Off-spinner Harmer, who bowled unchanged on Day Three, claimed 7/161 to go alongside his 8/46 in the first innings to return 15/207.
Hampshire, who were only 3 points behind leaders Surrey ahead of the match, were only 12 runs shy of victory after Felix Organ’s 65, and contributions from Ian Holland, Ben Brown, Aneurin Donald, Keith Barker and Kyle Abbott got them unbelievably close to their 299-run target.
Hampshire still haven’t won at Chelmsford since 2012 and had lost their last 3 matches on the ground by an innings.
Harmer had only taken 12 Championship wickets before this match this season, with only 2 coming on home wickets. A return to a spicier pitch benefitted him and handed Essex their first home red-ball win of the year.
But since Harmer arrived in 2017, Essex have only lost 3 home matches, with the only successful fourth-innings chase coming when Surrey needed just 2.
The South African was frustrated initially as Organ and Holland played with a decent tempo to keep eating into the 299-run target. Organ had already smashed Harmer over mid-wicket for 3 sixes the previous evening, and sailed another 2 over the dressing room as he found a way to deal with the turn and bounce.
He reached his second half-century of the season with a carved boundary behind point off 67 balls. However many times you hit Harmer over the boundary he will win the battle in the end, and thus it proved as Organ was bowled going back to the spinner. The opening stand worth 97, the highest of the match.
Hampshire were somewhat miffed as replacement balls meant a steady stream of harder balls, with Essex benefiting from the ball going softer the previous afternoon when Adam Rossington and Harmer were scoring freely.
And it was after a delay discussing the ball situation that wickets began to fall.
James Fuller had been promoted from No.9 to No.3 and at slightly better than run-a-ball he made 18, which included another six over midwicket. But he guided Aaron Beard to second slip to break the run of 19 straight wickets falling to spin.
Holland had bedded in by facing 95 balls and looked relatively comfortable before turning Harmer to short leg, and Nick Gubbins and James Vince made the fatal decision to go back to Harmer to fall lbw and bowled respectively.
In between the Harmer scalps, Beard picked up his second on his first red-ball appearance for Essex since 2020 as Liam Dawson was adjudged to have edged behind.
Hampshire had lost 6 wickets for 65 runs, and thanks to Donald’s slogging a 46-run partnership with Ben Brown to give the visitors a sliver of hope again.
But Harmer had Donald castled while going back to cut, in almost identical fashion to Organ earlier, and Brown leg before while coming around the wicket.
Abbott and Barker gave a nervy feeling to proceedings as they hit 41 with very little resistance. Abbott was leg before giving Beard his third.
Barker and last man Brad Wheal put on 32 as an unlikely victory edged closer but Barker picked out long-on to fall for 42 and give Harmer his career-best red-ball figures.
Day Two Highlights
Day Two Reaction: Adam Rossington
Day Two Match Report:
Simon Harmer tormented Hampshire with bat and ball as Essex racked up a decent advantage in the LV= Insurance County Championship fixture.
South African Harmer claimed 8/46 – the best figures by anyone so far in the 2022 Championship – to condemn Hampshire to a 75-run deficit after the first innings.
He then totted up 61 to go alongside Adam Rossington’s 60 to ease Essex away from 51-5 and to set Hampshire a target of 299, taken down to 264 by the close.
Across the three innings, all 14 wickets in the day fell to spin bowling – with Liam Dawson picking up his best Hampshire figures of 7/68 and Felix Organ 3/57 on a turning pitch.
Harmer, who began the day with 4/23, unsurprisingly began from The River End and bowled 15 balls before he added his 25th five-wicket haul for Essex – bowling a reverse sweeping Keith Barker around his legs.
Hampshire’s approach seemed to be to score their way out of trouble. Barker had struck 2 fours and a six off Harmer alone and Kyle Abbott would thrash 3 sixes in a 23-run over off Dan Lawrence. A total of 95 runs were scored in 55 minutes, but Harmer was constantly taking wickets.
James Fuller screwed to cover, Ben Brown – following a punchy 38 – was caught behind and Abbott was caught at deep midwicket as Hampshire were bowled out for 163, with Harmer mimicking his figures from the previous evening. He now has over 200 first-class wickets at
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford since joining in 2017.
Spin continued to be the way forward as Hampshire turned to Organ and Dawson in the fifth and sixth overs. Organ initially did the damage as he had a driving Alastair Cook caught at first slip and Tom Westley brilliantly caught at short leg with his fifth and sixth deliveries.
Dawson had Dan Lawrence lbw to a full ball on the stroke of Lunch before Paul Walter and Michael Pepper came and went after the interval – the former leg before to Organ and the latter reversing Dawson to point.
Hampshire looked on a roll and Essex in trouble, but Browne and Rossington’s contrasting styles navigated the hosts back to a strong position. Browne was resolute, while Rossington’s assertiveness was best typified by dispatching his second delivery for six.
Both helped to soften the ball and make batting easier, as the bounce and turn started to be nullified, in a 54-run partnership – with Rossington contributing 42 of them.
Browne fell for a 98-ball 33 when he turned Dawson to leg slip, the lead on 180 before Harmer entered to show off his batting prowess. He and Rossington added 47 more runs.
Rossington stamped his authority and his half-century came in 52 balls, although he fell for 60 when he chipped to mid-off.
Harmer added a further 34 with Shane Snater before the Dutch international splintered to midwicket to give Dawson his fifth wicket – only the fifth 5-wicket haul of his first-class career.
Harmer moved to his 82-ball half-century with a six into The Hayes Close gardens before he and Sam Cook fell to successive balls to give Dawson the second 7-wicket return of his career. In doing so he became the first spin bowler not called Harmer to take a 5-wicket haul at Chelmsford since Gareth Batty in 2014.
In 13 overs, Organ lifted Harmer out of the ground twice as Hampshire reached 35 without loss by stumps.
Day One Highlights
Day One Reaction: Shane Snater
Day One Match Report:
Simon Harmer spun 4 evening wickets to entangle Hampshire after Shane Snater’s 71 had dug Essex out of a hole in their LV= Insurance County Championship clash.
All-rounder Snater became Essex’s third-highest Championship run-scorer and recorded his third half-century this season to help Essex recover from 105-7 to 238 all out.
Harmer entered, after Sam Cook nabbed the openers, to bamboozle Hampshire’s batters on a spinning wicket with 4/23 to see the visitors slump to 68-6 at the close.
Harmer had found wickets hard to come by at Chelmsford this season, but this a vintage Harmer performance with the South African dominating the opposition batters.
Kyle Abbott and Keith Barker, in particular, found good bounce off a length, while Liam Dawson and Harmer got good turn.
It was the reliable Sam Cook who made the breakthrough and Organ was his first victim, edging to Alastair Cook at first slip. He followed this up by claiming the wicket of Holland, who was trapped leg before with the visitors on 33-2.
Harmer was then introduced from The River End in the eighth over and he had a wicket within 7 balls. The only surprising aspect was the manner of the wicket as James Vince danced down, missed the ball and was stumped.
10 balls later, Dawson dabbed towards short leg but it sat up for wicket-keeper Rossington to grab. Soon after, Nick Gubbins’ otherwise spritely 34 ended when he edged to second slip, Hampshire slipping to 55-5, almost mirroring the 56-5 earlier in the day.
Aneurin Donald edged his next delivery to short leg, and Barker just about survived a hat-trick ball. Ben Brown and Barker batted out the final 29 balls of the day.
Earlier, after Essex had chosen to bat, Nick Browne was bowled on the angle by Abbott for a 14-ball duck, Alastair Cook pushed Barker to third slip and Dan Lawrence was lbw to Brad Wheal to leave Essex 17-3.
Tom Westley held things together with a leg-side dominant 46 and partnerships of 40 with Paul Walter and 47 with Adam Rossington, with Walter and Michael Pepper falling within 3 Ian Holland balls.
Rossington and Westley also fell in quick succession, bowled by an Abbott ripper and lbw to Dawson, respectively, to leave the hosts 105-7.
Snater was then introduced, and the Essex batter followed on from his strong batting performances earlier in the season by cutting and hooking the Hampshire bowlers all over Chelmsford.
His 50 came in 47 balls while putting on 59 with Harmer, 58 with Aaron Beard, and after he had lifted to 71, the final two put on 16; in total the final 3 wickets were worth an invaluable 133 runs.