Search

County Championship: Essex spinner Simon Harmer hopes Lancashire pitch favours him in crucial clash

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 September 2017

Essex's Simon Harmer celebrates taking a wicket (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex's Simon Harmer celebrates taking a wicket (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Top two in Division One to meet this week

If Simon Harmer’s hunch is correct, and Lancashire prepare a spinner’s wicket for today’s top-of-the-table showdown at Old Trafford, then he could be in for a busy four days.

Matthew Merchant, Lancashire’s groundsman, has a major dilemma when it comes to preparing the pitch for a game that could ultimately decide the destiny of this season’s Specsavers County Championship. After all, in Harmer and seamer Jamie Porter, Essex have the top two wicket-takers in Division One and can cover all bases with their bowling attack, no matter what surface is served up.

South African off-spinner Harmer said: “We’re confident enough that whatever pitch they prepare we’ll be able to put out the right side. We’ve got a well-balanced squad and we’ve shown throughout the season that we can play in any conditions.

“I think they’ll look for the wicket to turn. They’ve got an experienced spinner in Stephen Parry and a new exciting prospect in [Matt] Parkinson, so I wouldn’t think they’d go with anything much different than a turning wicket and play three seamers and two spinners.”

All of which sounds like the sort of scenario that would play into Harmer’s hands. “Hopefully, hopefully,” he says. “If the weather plays its part hopefully I can have an impact on the game. It would be a massive win for us if we pull it off, though to be honest the forecast isn’t looking too optimistic at the moment. It looks pretty wet up there Tuesday and Wednesday.”

If the Old Trafford groundstaff opt for something to please the seamers, then Porter will be rubbing his hands after reaching 52 wickets, one less than Harmer, with his 12-wicket haul against Somerset at Chelmsford last week. The pair bowled in tandem to share the 10 second-innings wickets, split seven-three, as Essex upset second-place Lancashire’s hopes of cutting the deficit to manageable proportions; it currently stands at 36 points with four games to play.

With Lancashire recording a victory over Warwickshire an hour or so earlier, Harmer says: “They were pretty optimistic that they had managed to close the gap by 20-odd points, so it would have been frustrating to see us turn Somerset over the way we did, bowling them out in a session and a half.

“They were pretty certain that we wouldn’t be able to do it, but it just shows the sort of space the team is in, the tough cricket we’ve been playing.

“It was a special spell from Jamie to crack things open at the beginning and it opened the door for us. I’m sure there will be a lot of competitiveness between us to see who takes the most wickets this season, but as long as ultimately the team benefits, that has to come first.”

Forty-one of Harmer’s 53 wickets have come at Chelmsford, 17 of them lbw, many to batsmen playing no shot to deliveries pitching outside off-stump. “One of my friends joked with me asking if some of the batsmen were going for the Golden Boot award, judging by the amount of balls they’ve kicked away.

“There haven’t been a helluva lot of shots [played] in the lbw decisions. Speaking to one of the umpires, he said you tend to lose the benefit of the doubt when you don’t offer a shot, so I’m always going to ask the question if the ball hits the pads”

So how should batsmen play him? “Probably play across and be the boss. Just look to be attacking. In a lot of the games where we’ve needed six or seven wickets to win, batters come in and look to be very defensive and bat for the day. That plays into any spinner’s hands.

“If you’re only looking to survive you’re always going to create chances. But runs on the board dictate a lot how a spinner bowls. When you’re in an attacking position in the game it makes it a lot easier. It’s testament to the way our batting unit has played this season that I’ve been able to bowl as attacking as I have.”

Back to Old Trafford, Harmer says: “Make no bones about it, it’s a big game for both sides. If we can beat them we really are sitting pretty, so I don’t think there will be anyone being complacent. We haven’t lost all season and I’m pretty sure the boys are keen to go through the season unbeaten.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford Sports News

Yesterday, 17:00

Colin McBride wants to give close friend Jimmy McFarlane ‘the best treatment he can get’ by leading Hornchurch to a win over Tilbury tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).

Yesterday, 16:30

West Ham United boss David Moyes would love to see Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez maintain their fine form for the club against Liverpool at Anfield this weekend.

Yesterday, 16:00

Dagenham & Redbridge manager John Still wants supporters to get behind the team and help them push on against strugglers Chester this weekend.

Yesterday, 15:00

London Raiders goalie Michael Gray is expecting another tough weekend of hockey as they face former EPL sides Peterborough Phantoms and Swindon Wildcats.

Yesterday, 14:54

West Ham United boss David Moyes knows a trip to Anfield is as hard as they come, but is relishing this weekend’s journey to Merseyside.

Yesterday, 14:00

Havering’s Emily Defroand was delighted to make her Great Britain debut on their tour of Argentina and felt they played some of their best hockey yet in the five-match series, writes Lee Power.

Yesterday, 13:30

The sky is the limit for Havering Sports Council’s junior competitor of the year Max Law – according to volunteer of the year Sam Harrison, his coach.

Yesterday, 13:00

Leyton Orient return to their Brisbane Road home this week for a vital game with National League rivals Gateshead in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now