It’s ‘Harmer Time’ as Essex seal victory over Durham

Simon Harmer of Essex claims the wicket of Ned Eckersley during Essex CCC vs Durham CCC, LV Insuranc

Simon Harmer of Essex claims the wicket of Ned Eckersley during Essex CCC vs Durham CCC, LV Insurance County Championship Group 1 Cricket at The Cloudfm County Ground on 18th April 2021 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Simon Harmer made sure it was ‘Harmer Time’ again at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford as the talismanic spinner was the architect for Essex’s sensational comeback victory over Durham.

Harmer claimed his 22nd five-wicket haul, and sixth 10 wickets in a match since joining the county in 2017 with a bamboozling five for 57.

Defending LV= Insurance County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy champions Essex had been bowled out for 96 in the first innings and gave up a 163-run first-innings deficit, only to win by 44 runs.

The victory, which gave the hosts 19 points to Durham’s five, was their 12th in 13 at home.

The equation for the last day was simple; Durham required 108 runs and Essex needed seven wickets.


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Jack Burnham ticked four off the target with the second ball of the day, a well-timed flick off his legs, having scored an enterprising 31 the previous evening.

Burnham and Borthwick’s partnership past 50, with the latter only contributing 13 to it, but only reached 63 before Harmer struck for the first time.

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With 85 required, Burnham departed for 43 when he rocked onto the back foot and hoicked straight to Tom Westley at long-on.

Adam Wheater thought he had stumped Borthwick in Harmer’s next over, to earn a reprimand from the umpires, only for the off-spinner to pin the first-innings century-maker when going back, 80 still needed.

And only another run had been added six balls later when Sam Cook, who returned figures of three for 17, had Stuart Poynton lbw.

Ben Raine lasted just five balls before Harmer flicked his pad to take his third wicket in 11 balls.

With 60 to win, Ned Eckersley, who had survived a drop at short-leg before he had scored, tickled Harmer around the corner to Dan Lawrence at leg slip.

Harmer completed his second five-for in the match when Brydon Carse, who had a runner due to a swollen ankle sustained while bowling, was lbw.

Harmer's match figures an impressive 10 for 136.

Jamie Porter completed the victory when he sent Matt Salisbury’s middle stump tumbling.

Essex spin bowler Simon Harmer, who took five for 57 in the second innings - having bowled unchanged from the River End on day four - and 10 for 136 in the match.

“It isn’t often we find ourselves backs against the wall like that. For Ben Allison to bat the way that he did in his second game and Paul Walter was incredible. For us to conjure up 160-odd for them to chase gave the boys belief.

“What we’ve achieved over the last four years really gave us the belief we could still win from the position we were in.

“It shows the character of the boys, and shows that we aren’t only good when we are ahead but we find ways to win.

“For me, it is about finding a way on different wickets; how different balls work, different variations work, speed, trajectory, that all plays a part. The quicker you work it out the easier it is.

“I really enjoy taking wickets in the second innings of the game. I think it is easier to take wickets in the first innings of a game and be happy with that when actually the second innings wickets win games.

“To do that today and come in and take wickets is always enjoyable.

“If we had sat down after the game having not won, the work and effort done by Walter and Allison yesterday would have been glossed over, but having won the game I hope this will highlight the important runs they scored. Ultimately without their runs, we wouldn’t have much to bowl at today.

“It isn’t about me scoring runs or taking wickets it is about the boys back in the changing room and what it means to you, them and us as a group. I think that is why we find ways to get out of situations that we find ourselves in.

“Essex have what money cannot buy. In situations like yesterday morning, it is about the group of guys and you don’t want to let them down.”

Durham head coach James Franklin:“It is a bit disappointing. We had an opportunity to win a game of cricket today.

“That is all you can ask for from a team, to work through the processes on the first three days to give yourself a sniff of winning on day four, but ultimately it wasn’t to be.

“We started well but unfortunately we lost a couple of wickets and when you do that against very good teams like Essex. If you leave the door ajar, they will run straight through it.

“There are always moments in games where you feel you should have done better but overall, both this week and against Nottinghamshire I’ve been pleased with the performances from the group. Already in two games, we have three hundreds and a five-for.

“It is just moments in games we aren’t nailing at the moment but we feel we will get there.

“When Burnham and Borthwick were going along we were in the ascendancy but if you give Essex a sniff they will take it. They are champions for a reason.

“There are good lessons to learn and ultimately we need to move forward quickly and put some closure on it.”

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