HAMPSHIRE were bowled out for their third-lowest score this century after Simon Harmer claimed match figures of 12 for 61 at Chelmsford.

Harmer, who collected analysis of 5-23 in the first innings, overwhelmed Hampshire once again by snatching 7-38 – his third 10-wicket haul for the county, and fourth of his first-class career as the visitors were skittled in five sessions.

Hampshire coach Adi Birrell said: “It is a painful and hurtful result.

“We have had a talk in the dressing room and we have to take it on the chin. Hopefully it is a defeat in isolation.

“We can’t afford to let this affect us. It was a very bad two days.

“We had three wins and a couple of draws and it had been okay up until now. We need to get back onto the horse.

“We are not proud of what happened but we can’t fall in a heap. We need to get off the floor and dust ourselves down.”

Off-spinner Harmer has now taken four five-wicket hauls in his six innings at Chelmsford this season and has taken 42 scalps for the campaign – the highest in the country.

Essex, who have comfortably won all three of their Specsavers County Championship at home, move within seven points of Hampshire in second place in Division One, with a game in hand.

Essex had begun the day on 147 for three but were themselves bowled out before lunch, as they lost seven wickets for 67 runs, before Hampshire were given a tricky three over spell before lunch.

Only 17 balls of the three overs were bowled, though, before Tom Alsop was lbw to Jamie Porter, and after lunch the floodgates collapsed in catastrophic style for Hampshire.

India Test star Ajinkya Rahane was caught behind for a duck for the second time in the match to the first ball of the resumption – it was the first time he had been dismissed for a pair in first-class cricket in his career.

Off-spinner Harmer was then brought into the attack in the fourth over, originally to replace Sam Cook who was forced to walk off the ground with what appeared to be a back issue mid-way through his second over.

And he needed just five balls to have Sam Northeast stumped, the Hampshire stand-in captain losing his bearings after hitting into the ground.

Rilee Rossouw aggressively swiped to point and Aneurin Donald swept to mid-wicket – both caught by Beard.

South African Harmer then completed his second five-for in the match when James Fuller was lbw and Keith Barker edged to Sir Alastair Cook at first slip in three balls – to leave Hampshire 32 for seven.

Opener Weatherley, who carried his bat for 29, and Abbott provided some respite with a 29-run stand for the eighth wicket, before the latter chipped to mid-off.

Harmer rounded off the victory as Mason Crane was caught in comedy style as Adam Wheater dropped the chance onto his own foot before kicking to Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg and Fidel Edwards was lbw.

This was Hampshire’s lowest score since their 76 against Essex in September 2017. Their only other lower score this century was 81 against Sussex in 2001.

Birrell added: “We had four overs to bat before lunch and lost a wicket straight away, Ajinkya got a first baller, so we were on the back foot right from the start.

“Harmer bowls fairly well but the ball wasn’t turning square, it wasn’t impossible to bat.

“Joe Weatherley batted through. He applied himself and needed someone to bat through with him.”

Earlier, Essex batsmen Ravi Bopara and Dan Lawrence took their partnership to 105 runs, before the former was leg before to Fuller without playing a shot for a well-made 59.

Lawrence celebrated his second Championship half-century of the season from 108 deliveries before he was the first of Abbott’s four victims – as Hampshire began to assert huge pressure on the hosts.

Wheater, playing against his former county, and Harmer were Abbott’s next casualties as they were also struck on the pads in front.

Edwards grabbed two wickets in two balls as he knocked back Aaron Beard’s off stump with a yorker before ten Doeschate was caught behind by a full-length dive by Alsop.

Abbott ended the Essex innings when he had Sam Cook lbw – the seventh leg before of the innings, a Hampshire record – to end with figures of four for 54.

Hampshire first innings
JJ Weatherley lbw b Porter 2
TP Alsop † c Lawrence b SJ Cook 6
AM Rahane c †Wheater b Porter 0
SA Northeast (c) lbw b Harmer 18
R Rossouw st †Wheater b Harmer 34
AHT Donald b SJ Cook 25
JK Fuller c ten Doeschate b Harmer 8
KHD Barker lbw b Harmer 3
KJ Abbott lbw b SJ Cook 10
MS Crane lbw b Harmer 7
FH Edwards not out 4
Extras 1 (lb 1)
TOTAL 118 all out (34 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (JJ Weatherley, 2.5 ov), 2-8 (AM Rahane, 4.1 ov), 3-8 (TP Alsop, 5.3 ov), 4-53 (SA Northeast, 15.3 ov), 5-70 (RR Rossouw, 19.2 ov), 6-94 (AHT Donald, 24.6 ov), 7-94 (JK Fuller, 25.3 ov), 8-105 (KJ Abbott, 28.6 ov), 9-107 (KHD Barker, 31.5 ov), 10-118 (MS Crane, 33.6 ov)
BOWLING: JA Porter 12-3-44-2, SJ Cook 11-2-50-3, SR Harmer 11-4-23-5.    

Essex first innings
NLJ Browne lbw b Barker 31
AN Cook lbw b Fuller 15
T Westley b Barker 8
DW Lawrence lbw b Abbott 57
RS Bopara lbw b Fuller 59
RN ten Doeschate (c) c †Alsop b Edwards 12
AJA Wheater † lbw b Abbott 4
SR Harmer lbw b Abbott 4
AP Beard b Edwards 2
JA Porter not out 0
SJ Cook lbw b Abbott 1
Extras 21 (b 4, lb 11, nb 6)
TOTAL 214 all out (73.1 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-53 (AN Cook, 20.5 ov), 2-53 (NLJ Browne, 21.3 ov), 3-64 (T Westley, 25.2 ov), 4-169 (RS Bopara, 56.6 ov), 5-195 (DW Lawrence, 63.1 ov), 6-199 (AJA Wheater, 65.2 ov), 7-203 (SR Harmer, 65.6 ov), 8-210 (AP Beard, 70.6 ov), 9-213 (RN ten Doeschate, 72.1 ov), 10-214 (SJ Cook, 73.1 ov)
BOWLING: KHD Barker 18-7-38-2, KJ Abbott 19.1-2-54-4, FH Edwards 15-4-31-2, JK Fuller 16-4-43-2, MS Crane 5-0-33-0.

Hampshire 2nd Innings
JJ Weatherley not out 29
TP Alsop † lbw b Porter 2
AM Rahane c †Wheater b Porter 0
S Northeast st †Wheater b Harmer 3
RR Rossouw c Beard b Harmer 4
AHT Donald c Beard b Harmer 4
JK Fuller lbw b Harmer 4
KHD Barker c AN Cook b Harmer 0
KJ Abbott c ten Doeschate b Beard 18
M Crane c ten Doeschate b Harmer 20
FH Edwards lbw b Harmer 0
Extras 4 (lb 4)
TOTAL 88 all out (29.5 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (TP Alsop, 2.5 ov), 2-5 (AM Rahane, 2.6 ov), 3-12 (SA Northeast, 5.3 ov), 4-16 (RR Rossouw, 5.5 ov), 5-26 (AHT Donald, 11.4 ov), 6-32 (JK Fuller, 13.3 ov), 7-32 (KHD Barker, 13.5 ov), 8-61 (KJ Abbott, 20.5 ov), 9-88 (MS Crane, 29.1 ov), 10-88 (FH Edwards, 29.5 ov)
BOWLING: JA Porter 10-2-19-2, SJ Cook 1.4-1-4-0, SR Harmer 13.1-38-7, AP Beard 5-0-23-1.