ESSEX Head Coach Anthony McGrath praised his side's 'professional' performance after they wrapped up a three-day County Championship victory over Gloucestershire today.

Simon Harmer produced another scintillating demonstration of spin bowling in the visitors' second innings, at Chelmsford.

He returned 8-112 and match figures of 13-156 as Essex won by nine wickets in just over seven sessions of play.

The victory earned the victors 22 points with the bottom of the table and still winless Gloucestershire collecting just two points.

Thanks to Zafar Gohar, Gloucestershire achieved some respectability reaching 252 in their second innings before being bowled out.

The 27 year-old Pakistani, by virtue of disciplined clean hitting, posted 81 from 75 balls that included 13 boundaries, three of them maximums.

That left Essex requiring 78 runs to win and although they lost Sir Alastair Cook for nine, Nick Browne and Tom Westley saw their side safely across the line with an undefeated 64-run stand.

McGrath said: “It was another good win that was wrapped up within three days.

“Coming of the back of the T20 campaign, it was important that we resumed our red-ball cricket with a win.

“We had a really good first day, were a bit sloppy yesterday losing seven wickets for 70 but when you build a lead of 174 on first innings, you are not going to lose too many games.

“We finished it off today and were very professional.

“Simon Harmer was exceptional again, he’s such a class act and showed he’s a world-class spinner.”

Harmer’s performance as again the talking point.

It was the fifth time for Essex since joining them in 2017 that he has captured eight wickets in an innings.

He also has two nine-wickets hauls in an innings to his name and his tally for the season has now swelled to 40 victims, in seven matches.

Gloucestershire began the day on 140 for six, still trailing by 34 runs, and with only four second innings intact after Harmer had captured five wickets the previous evening.

Ollie Price, who had played the South African Test bowler with panache including a number of bountiful reverse sweeps to reach 42 from 33 balls overnight resumed with Zafar Gohar but the partnership failed to last beyond the ninth ball of the day.

Six 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 two sixes and two other boundaries in an over, the second 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 two sixes from the bowler’s next over posted a half-century stand with Matt Taylor whose contribution was eight.

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

Essex had Cook to thank for their defining first-innings lead of 174 runs.

The former England captain and opener, now 37 years young, shows no signs of ageing and scored 145 after occupying the crease for almost eight hours.

The relentless quest for runs by shows no indication of abating. His tally of runs for the Championship season now stands at 658 at a shade over 50.

Maybe not at the scoring rate the new England management require but still invaluable for his county and proving that he retains the class of a leading player, in the red-ball game.