Batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond frustrated Essex on Day Four with a stoic score of 81 but the hosts secured their second victory of the season with a 113-run win over Kent at Chelmsford.
South African spinner Simon Harmer took eight wickets for 98, his 10th five-wicket for Essex, to pouch his 29th wicket of the campaign – to overtake Fidel Edwards and Matt Milnes. In the match, Harmer returned analysis of 11 for 170. The victory saw Essex take 22 points from the match – with the visitors returning home with three points.
Essex began the day on 181 for six, and moved that to 206 for seven in four overs before declaring – Michael Pepper the man to depart when he was lbw attempting to slog sweep Matt Milnes.
That gave Kent a total of 338 runs to score, or survive a minimum of 90 overs – with the hope of replicating their incredible last day draw against Surrey at Beckenham last week high on their minds. Harmer was always likely to be Essex’s biggest hope of taking all 10 wickets on a fourth day pitch which threatened to turn sharply.
It took nine overs of Jamie Porter and Sam Cook before Ryan ten Doeschate threw the ball to the off-spinner and a further 2.5 overs before Harmer made the breakthrough. After a 34-run stand for the first wicket, Harmer slid a delivery under a sweep from Zak Crawley to strike him on the pads plumb in front.
Six overs later, Harmer grabbed his second scalp as Joe Denly skipped down the track and skewed a slog to Nick Browne at deep square-leg. In the next over, Peter Siddle broke the Harmer monopoly on wickets when Sean Dickson edged to second slip, where Harmer was waiting to pouch.
Bell-Drummond and Heino Kuhn then held up Essex’s hopes, and gave Kent a glimmer of replicating their Beckenham heroics. The pair batted out 23 overs, for 75-runs, although received a fair helping of assistance from the Essex fielders.
Kuhn was dropped twice, on 0 by Tom Westley at third slip and on 36 at mid-off by Sam Cook before he was three times unlucky when Harmer had him LBW without playing a shot. Kent then lost two wickets in five balls to further dampen their hopes.
Ollie Robinson offered a catch to Ravi Bopara at leg slip to hand Harmer his fourth, with the umpire adjudging the ball to have flicked the bat before ballooning up, and then Wiaan Mulder edged behind third ball.
Darren Stevens provided some entertainment as he smashed two sixes in a 47-run stand with Bell-Drummond, but feel tamely when he prodded Harmer to Dan Lawrence at short midwicket.
Harry Podmore struck a six off Harmer but the wily twirler had the last laugh two balls later as the tailender thrashed to Sam Cook at cover. Harmer had Milnes caught by Bopara at leg slip for his 10th of the match before rounding off the innings by bowling Bell-Drummond.
Credit: ECB Reporters’ Network