Match Report: Essex v Gloucestershire


Essex v Gloucestershire

LV= Insurance County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Monday 11 – Thursday 14 July


Team News:

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Adam Rossington (wk), Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Aaron Beard, Jamie Porter.

Gloucestershire: Chris Dent, Marcus Harris, Ryan Higgins, James Bracey (wk), Miles Hammond, Graeme van Buuren (c), Ollie Price, Tom Price, Zafar Gohar, Matt Taylor, Josh Shaw.

Match Details:

Umpires: Paul Baldwin & Paul Pollard
Match Referee: Dean Cosker
Toss: Gloucestershire, who elected to bat
Result: Essex won by 9 wickets

Scorecard: View Here

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Reaction: Anthony McGrath

Day Three Match Report:

Simon Harmer produced another scintillating demonstration of spin bowling in Gloucestershire’s second innings returning 8/112 and match figures of 13/156 as Essex beat Gloucestershire by 9 wickets inside 3 days at Chelmsford.

The victory earned Tom Westley’s side 22 points with Gloucestershire collecting just 2 points.

Zafar Gohar was the standout player for the visitors and played a bit part in them reaching 252 in their second innings before being bowled out for 81. His knock contained 13 boundaries, with 3 of them clearing the ropes.

His efforts left Essex requiring 78 runs to win and although Alastair Cook went for 9, Nick Browne and Westley saw their side safely across the line with an undefeated 64-run stand.

Harmer’s performance was again the talking point. It was the 5th time he captured 8 wickets in an innings for Essex, with his tally for the season now standing at 40 victims.

Gloucestershire began the day on 140-6, still trailing by 34 runs, and with only 4 second wickets intact after Harmer had captured 5 the previous evening.

Ollie Price, who had played Harmer nicely the previous day resumed on 42 with Zafar Gohar, but the partnership failed to last beyond the ninth ball of the day.

6 runs had been scored when Jamie Porter castled Price, who was on 43, with his third delivery of the morning.

Brother Tom Price continued the aggressive approach against Harmer to briefly prosper. He struck 2 sixes and 2 fours in an over, the second of which erased his side’s overall deficit but Harmer always has the last word.

With his next delivery, he persuaded Price, on 23, to attempt to go large once more, a terminal move for the batter as Matt Critchley took the catch at deep long-on.

Zafar though flashed his bat to good effect. A maximum against Critchley’s leg-spin brought him to a 53-ball half-century and 2 sixes from the bowler’s next over posted a half-century stand with Matt Taylor whose contribution was 8.

Having been the architect of a 65 run-stand in 10 overs and helped carry the score to 244, the dominant Zafar was finally deceived by Harmer in flight and was stumped before the South African wrapped up the innings 5 balls later.

Essex had Cook to thank for their defining first-innings lead of 174 runs. The former England Captain and opener scored 145 after occupying the crease for almost 8 hours, but second time around he was bowled by Higgnis for 9.

His opening partner Browne was joined by Westley, and the pair scored the 64 runs required for victory inside 13 overs to secure 22 points for their side.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Reaction: Simon Harmer

Day Two Match Report:

Alastair Cook and Simon Harmer combined to leave Essex on the cusp of victory in their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford.

Cook recorded his 4th century of the season on his way to 145 out of Essex’s 310 all out before Harmer bagged 5/51 to follow up his first-innings 5/44.

Cook occupied the crease for almost seven hours as Essex built a first-innings lead and with skipper Tom Westley, who scored 90, put on a second-wicket partnership of 196 to bat Gloucestershire out of the game.

Trailing by 174 runs, Gloucestershire were defeated by Harmer’s accuracy and variation after being introduced in the 6th over. By the close, he had almost single-handedly bowled the visitors to the brink of defeat.

Ollie Price finished the day on 42 and will resume with Zafar Gohar on 10, but the winless Gloucestershire look set for another loss.

Harmer’s first victim came in his third over when Marcus Harris was bowled and four balls later, he had Ryan Higgins well caught by Nick Browne at short leg for a duck to leave the visitors 26 for 2

Chris Dent batted resolutely but saw Miles Hammond and James Bracey fall to Harmera at the other end. Hammond was bowled when he played back and was defeated by the spin before James Bracey reached forward and was stumped.

Then Dent himself fell, also to Harmer, for 33. He was trapped leg before on the back pad to give Harmer his tenth wicket of the match.

Earlier in the day, Alastair Cook and skipper Tom Westley had made serene progress during the morning session when they resumed on 127-1, just 9 runs adrift of their opponents.

With the 15th delivery of the day, a boundary by Westley moved Essex into credit and he and Cook increased the advantage with a series of nicely-timed and well-directed drives.

Westley’s penchant for leg-side strokes complemented the classic cover driving and square cuts executed by Cook as the partnership flourished.

Westley looked set to complete a century and it came as a surprise to everyone when Tom Price produced a beautiful delivery out of nowhere that left him to clip the top of off.

Cook arrived at three figures with his 12th boundary having faced 236 deliveries steering the ball backward of square on the off to earn a standing ovation from the crowd.

Shortly after, the impressive Price struck again. Dan Lawrence was caught at short mid-wicket off an intended pull to give the paceman figures of 3 for 47 as Essex arrived at lunch on 222 for 3 and a lead of 86 runs.

Cook continued relentlessly, but wickets began to fall regularly at the other end as left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar began to enjoy himself. He bowled a spell of 3/7 before Ryan Higgins tempted Cook outside off stump and found the edge.

Adam Rossington clubbed a couple of sixes to secure a third batting point for Essex before Zafar added two more wickets to return figures of 5/84, his fourth 5-wicket haul for the county.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Reaction: Tom Westley

Day One Match Report:

Simon Harmer, with figures of 5/44, was the architect of Gloucestershire’s batting woes as they were bowled out for 136 having won the toss.

After Harmer had tortured the visitors on a scorching hot day at Chelmsford, Alastair Cook and Tom Westley carried Essex to 127-1 at the close with Cook posting a 126-ball half-century.

Only Graeme van Buuren and Zafar Gohar looked settled in the Gloucestershire first innings, which concluded 40 minutes after Lunch.

Then Cook and Westley demonstrated the value of disciplined graft with a century stand spanning 256 balls with Westley completing a 146-ball fifty shortly before the close.

By Lunch the visitors, who are still seeking their first LV= Insurance County Championship win of the summer, had lost their top-five runs getters in red-ball cricket this season as they stumbled to 104-6 at the break.

Although new ball bowler Sam Cook was away on England Lions duty, Jamie Porter ensured a flying start for the home side striking twice in his first 4 overs to remove the opening pair of Marcus Harris and Chris Dent for single-figure scores before the sight of Simon Harmer striding in to start his bowling spell from his customary River End served to increase Gloucestershire’s concerns.

The match was only 40 minutes old when the South African took the ball for the 10th over of the innings. After 2 overs, his concerns regarding the shape of the ball were acknowledged by the umpires. Harmer himself jogged to the boundary, retrieved the bag of alternative replacements and after handing it to the officials, was handed a replacement cherry.

Finding it immediately to his liking, he took the first of his 5 wickets when Ryan Higgins slapped him straight to long-on. Without addition, Miles Hammond, who had just moved into double figures, offered no stroke to an Aaron Beard delivery that clipped off bail to leave the visitors 37-4.

James Bracey and Graeme van Buuren doubled the score but the threat of Harmer’s canny variations of flight and length were always looming large.
Having scored 12, Bracey was pushed onto the back foot and edged to wicket-keeper Adam Rossington and the same Essex combination teamed up to dismiss Ollie Price who was stumped.

Seven balls after Lunch, the visitor’s troubles continued when van Buuren, who had been functionally effective in advancing to 34 from 37 balls set off for a single and was stranded at the non-striker’s end where he found Zafar Gohar a stationary onlooker.

Gohar drove effectively for an unbeaten 29 but Harmer rounded of the innings with 2 of the last 3 wickets taking his tally to 340 first-class wickets for Essex. It was the 27th time he has returned 5 wickets or more in an innings for the side since joining in 2017.