Match Preview: Hampshire v Essex





A commanding victory over Kent last time out helped Essex pile the pressure on Division One front-runner, Surrey.

With the top three teams each with four games remaining, the conclusion to the 2023 LV= Insurance County Championship is set to be nip and tuck.

The third team to make up the top three, Hampshire, are tomorrow’s opponents in the first of two matches to be played against the opposition during the Championship run-in.


Essex squad hampshire

Essex have named a 13-man squad for this fixture, with Michael Pepper returning to be the sole addition to an otherwise unchanged group.

The Opposition:

Hampshire squad: James Vince (captain), Mohammad Abbas, Kyle Abbott, Keith Barker, Ben Brown, Liam Dawson, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, Ian Holland, Fletcha Middleton, Felix Organ, Tom Prest, John Turner.

Division One Standings:

 div 1 standings

Last Time We Met:

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.

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.

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 of Day 1.


Simon Harmer of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Keith Barker to win the match during Essex CCC vs Hampshire CCC, LV Insurance County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloud County Ground on 28th June 2022

Simon Harmer of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Keith Barker to win the match during Essex CCC vs Hampshire CCC, LV Insurance County Championship Division 1 Cricket at The Cloud County Ground on 28th June 2022

Simon Harmer tormented Hampshire on Day 2 with bat and ball as Essex racked up a decent advantage in the LV= Insurance County Championship fixture.

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.

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 13 overs, Organ lifted Harmer out of the ground twice as Hampshire reached 35 without loss by stumps.


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.

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.

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.

How To Watch:

If you’re unable to attend, the game will be streamed live from Southampton and available to watch via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

Miss the action? Highlights will be available after each day’s play via the Club website and social media channels.


Tickets are now on sale for Essex’s four home games in this season’s Metro Bank One-Day Cup, with McGrath’s men set to welcome Notts Outlaws, Middlesex, Yorkshire Vikings, and Surrey to Chelmsford, while England Women will visit in September for an IT20 clash against Sri Lanka.

All tickets can be purchased by visiting the link below: