SIMON Harmer claimed six wickets for 49 to spin Essex to a 47-run victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road and finish as leading wicket taker in this year’s LV= County Championship division one, writes JEREMY BLACKMORE.

Harmer extracted prodigious turn to run through Northamptonshire’s middle and lower order after Sam Cook set up victory with three wickets in two overs to shatter Northamptonshire's hopes of chasing 211 to win.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said [on winning five wins out of seven away from home]: "In any other season to win five games away from home you'd probably be picking a trophy up and we're normally so good at home.

"So if we can marry the two together next season and be good on the road as well as at home, we're going to be hopefully up there challenging.

"Today was a good way to finish.

"It doesn’t count for anything in terms of trophies but we talked about finishing well and taking momentum into next season.

"Even though we've lost quite a bit to rain, know there was spin and seam there, a good cricket wicket really.

"So I think the crucial part of the game was getting a 100 run lead in that first innings I don't think we batted particularly well in the second innings but still with 200 and a few on the board and with the bowling attack we've got, we knew that if we could get wickets, we'd be in with a chance.”

A breezy 30 from Ricardo Vascconcelos boosted the hopes of the home fans before six wickets fell for 29 runs.


Despite a belligerent 39 from Gareth Berg, Northamptonshire’s highest score in the match, the hosts were bowled out for 163, meaning they finish sixth place in the Championship.

Harmer finished with 59 wickets for the season, one ahead of Kyle Abbott of Hampshire while Cook passed 50 for the season at an average of just 16.1

The result meant Jack White’s heroic career-best bowling figures were in vain.

White took six for 38 to skittle Essex for 110 as the visitors lost their last five wickets for 47 runs in the morning session and set up a tantalising run chase.