Search

Cricket: Essex hoping for double celebration

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 September 2019

Essex Eagles Simon Harmer celebrates with fans during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Essex Eagles Simon Harmer celebrates with fans during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

PA Wire/PA Images

Simon Harmer promised that Essex Eagles would temper their Vitality Blast celebrations ahead of what could be the biggest week in their 143-year history as they attempt to add the 2019 Specsavers County Championship to their collection.

Essex Eagles' Simon Harmer lifts the trophy during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.Essex Eagles' Simon Harmer lifts the trophy during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The Eagles edged out holders Worcestershire Rapids in a last-ball thriller at Edgbaston on Saturday to win the T20 title for the first time with captain Harmer taking them over the line with 18 off seven balls to add to his seven wickets for 35 runs across the two games on Finals Day.

But while previous Blast winners have enjoyed legendary nights at Birmingham's infamous Walkabout bar, Essex knew they could not afford to allow hangovers to impair their judgment at the business end of the season.

Simply, if they avoid defeat against Somerset at Taunton over the next four days, starting today, Essex will be crowned county champions for the second time in three years.

"I definitely think we'll be allowed to celebrate tonight," Harmer said in the immediate aftermath on Saturday.

Essex Eagles lift the trophy during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.Essex Eagles lift the trophy during the Vitality T20 Blast Final at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

"It isn't often that moments like this come around and I think you need to enjoy them.

"I think we can pay for the consequences on Sunday. I don't think we will go nuclear but we will enjoy the night."

Head coach Anthony McGrath added: "The guys these days are super professionals - it is not like days gone by! Of course, you have to enjoy these occasions - friends and family were all at Edgbaston - but we know we have a massive four days coming up.

"It is about turning up and making sure we are mentally prepared for that first delivery."

Essex arrived at their fifth Finals Day having snuck through the group stage with a late run of three wins and a tie from their last four matches.

But Cameron Delport's fifty put them on their way to beating Derbyshire Falcons in the semi-final, before Harmer's four-wicket haul, and 3-26 from T20 rookie Aron Nijjar, handed them a comfortable 34-run victory.

You may also want to watch:

In the final, Essex restricted Worcestershire to 145 before a stuttering innings left the Eagles requiring 23 from the last two overs - which Harmer and Ravi Bopara navigated with nothing to spare to set off rapturous scenes.

Harmer had led by example as he produced record Finals Day bowling figures, now the off-spinner is expecting more work at the Cooper Associates County Ground with a spin-friendly pitch expected to have been prepared to assist Somerset to the win they need.

But Harmer has warned their rivals that they are also ready for turning wickets.

The South African said: "I am pretty sure that with the way the weather is forecast that they need a result wicket, so I can guarantee that it will turn and they will try to win it in two days.

"But we hold all the cards. We have played extremely well after losing the first game of the season. We are unbeaten at home where the wicket does turn. We've found a formula which works for us and hopefully we can take that to Taunton.

"If the weather plays a part then so be it. But personally I would like it to be four days with no weather and we can beat them and be rightfully named four-day champions."

Essex went unbeaten in 2017 when they lifted the Championship for the first time in 25 years, but Harmer admits they have been kept more honest this time around.

"There were still two games to play after we had confirmed the title in 2017," Harmer added.

"We have had to work harder this time; Somerset have played some extremely good cricket this season. They have possibly stumbled at the wrong time by losing to Hampshire last week and letting us go ahead of them. We've had to play to win and that has helped us."

No team have won both the Blast and Championship in the same season, and McGrath is eyeing an historic double.

"Every county sets out at the beginning of the year to win a trophy," he said. "You try and win every match and put yourself in contention and that is what we spoke about going into Finals Day.

"We are going into the last week of the season with the possibility of winning two trophies. We have done the first bit, but this week is going to be tough as we know what Somerset are going to be like down there.

"All we have to do is be us. It is no bigger a game than the other ones. We will go there and stick to our method and if we are good enough in the four days then we will have another trophy. If not, it will be congratulations to Somerset."


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

08:02

The Premier League has held talks with sports technology company STATSports to help shape training sessions ahead of the move to contact training.

07:52

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron believes a ‘Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby’ next summer could significantly ease the economic hardship facing the global game because of the pandemic.

Yesterday, 18:12

Lee Westwood is optimistic that the European Tour’s planned resumption at the Betfred British Masters will go ahead in July.

Yesterday, 16:00

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan is to make a personal donation to Newham Foodbank of £3,500, to cover the shortfall in matchday donations from the five postponed home matches from Irons Supporting Foodbanks.

Yesterday, 14:00

Players from West Ham United’s Academy of Football are keeping track of their fitness programmes, while at the same time raising money in aid of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, to support their inspiring local NHS heroes in East London and Essex.

Yesterday, 10:00

Leyton Orient chief executive Danny Macklin heaped praise on Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane by terming him as a ‘first-class individual’

Yesterday, 07:35

The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s recommendation of a temporary ban on using saliva to shine the ball could hand batsmen a significant advantage, claims Australia paceman Mitchell Starc.

Mon, 16:02

The 2019-20 Women’s Super League season has been brought to an end with immediate effect.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and support business across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak.

People working for a wide range of private companies have been standing side-by-side with public sector staff on the front line during the coronavirus outbreak.

The United Kingdom is pulling together as one, with people from all regions and all four nations of the country helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

Most read sport

Competitions

A competition for wannabe writers has been started to add works to Canary Wharf’s ‘short story’ dispensers which are temporarily locked up by the lock down.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser