Super spinner Simon Harmer enjoying the ride as Essex top the County Championship

Simon Harmer is in superb form for table-toppers Essex. Picture: PA SPORT

Simon Harmer is in superb form for table-toppers Essex. Picture: PA SPORT - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Red-hot Essex bowler Simon Harmer says he’s just enjoying the ride as his side sit top of the County Championship table after he enjoyed his second straight 14-wicket haul.

Harmer took nine for 95 in the second innings to lead Essex to a dramatic penultimate-over victory against Middlesex on Thursday and extend their lead at the top of the Specsavers County Championship to 29 points.

The South African off-spinner’s match figures of 14 for 172 was his second 14-wicket haul in successive matches, his fourth successive five-wicket return, and raised his tally to 47 Championship wickets for the season to date.

He said: “It’s not going to get too much better than this. You just need to ride the wave – they don’t come around that often.

“It’s an incredible win for the club, it puts us in phenomenal position going into the last six games of the season. We’ve done a lot of hard work, a lot of hard graft and been on top of our game.

“It has been a good week – to put it lightly! You can’t really put into words. Sometimes things go your way. I’ll probably never take four five-fors in a row ever again and I’ll never take 28 wickets in two games ever again. It has just been one of those weeks.

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“You have to take it while you can because I can guarantee you that I’ll get back to South Africa, play at the Wanderers and I’ll be playing on an absolute road and getting smashed all over the place.

“The pink ball keeps the batter guessing because it takes the sweep out of their game.

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“I know their gameplan was to try and play me off the back foot, so I was trying to get them to cover the front foot and I knew I was winning it, I knew I was in the game.”

Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate added: “To take 14 wickets in a game, nine in an innings, and that’s not even mentioning the chances he created, he was phenomenal.

“We’ve been waiting for a holding spinner and he did that for the first two months of the season. Now with the good weather around and the tracks taking turn he is the bowler he is the guy we look to for being our match-winner.”

Essex take a break from four-day games now, returning to County Championship action on August 6 with a trip to Yorkshire.

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