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Essex captain hails Harmer against Middlesex

PUBLISHED: 13:30 30 June 2017

Simon Harmer in bowling action for Essex against Middlesex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Simon Harmer in bowling action for Essex against Middlesex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate hailed the efforts of Simon Harmer after his side’s thrilling win over defending champions Middlesex at Chelmsford.

Paul Stirling hits out for Middlesex as Essex wicketkeeper James Foster looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Paul Stirling hits out for Middlesex as Essex wicketkeeper James Foster looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The South African spinner took 9-95 in the second innings, after a 5-77 haul on day one, as the home side won by an innings and 34 runs to move 29 points clear at the top of Division One.

And ten Doeschate paid tribute to Harmer’s performance, saying: “To take 14 wickets in a game, nine in an innings, and that’s not even mentioning the chances he created, he was phenomenal.

“We’ve been waiting for a holding spinner and he did that for the first two months of the season. Now with the good weather around and the tracks taking turn he is the bowler, he is the guy we look to for being our match-winner. I can’t praise these last two performances enough.”

Harmer had taken 14 wickets in last week’s innings win over Warwickshire, but Essex had to wait until the closing minutes to see off Middlesex, who collapsed from 252-5 to 262 all out with eight balls left in the match, as Dan Lawrence claimed the other wicket to fall.

Ten Doeschate added: “There were plenty of chances and the belief never really went away.

“Those last 45 minutes, when we still needed four wickets, normally you don’t get the job done, so to get it done is a massive relief.”

Shellshocked Middlesex coach Richard Scott tried to look for the positives after seeing his side lose a wicket to the first ball of the day and slip to 51-3, before Nick Compton (120) and Paul Stirling (55) put on 153 for the fourth wicket.

He said: “There were probably three or four minutes to go there and I am really proud of the way we played especially after we lost three wickets in the first half an hour.

“We don’t want to take anything away from Essex. They have played a magnificent game of cricket. But I am proud of the determination our lads showed.

“I’ve told ’Compo’ it was one of the innings of his life. He used all of his experience and skill and put on a great partnership with Stirling. But we couldn’t hold out against that cluster of wickets at the end.”

Compton’s lbw dismissal triggered Middlesex’s collapse, as Ryan Higgins, Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones all followed with the score stuck on 261, before Harmer wrapped up the win by trapping Steve Finn in front of his stumps.

Defeat leaves Middlesex in sixth place with only one win in seven matches, 66 points adrift of leaders Essex ahead of their trip to Warwickshire on Monday.

Scott added: “We just feel a little frustrated things didn’t go our way, especially with ‘Compo’s’ decision, which was disappointing. He deserved better. But to be frank we were outplayed for the first two days.”

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