PCA PRESS RELEASE
Duo excel on the white-ball stage to win this month’s awards.
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Simon Harmer and Eve Jones reflected on an excellent month on the white-ball stage after they were voted your PCA Players of the Month for August.
Harmer scored more points than any other men’s domestic player in the PCA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Rankings during the last month with 112, and the public agreed as they confirmed him as the August winner with 54% of the vote.
It’s the Essex man’s second award of the season after he also claimed the prize in May. Matt Critchley (April), Harry Brook (June) and Tom Hartley (July) have also won a men’s award this season.
Speaking to the PCA, Harmer explained how he has been able to thrive on the white-ball stage throughout August: “I’ve always excelled in four-day cricket just because of the way I stack up as a bowler, but I also really enjoy the challenges of white-ball cricket. To consistently bowl well throughout the month and the whole season in all three formats is really pleasing.
“We did well to make it to the semi-final of the Royal London Cup. We hadn’t played any 50-over cricket since 2019 so it was nice to be able to contribute to our run.
“Our game plan was to stop the opposition in the middle of the game between overs 10-40, and I was very pleased to be able to fulfil that role for us throughout the tournament.
“We were bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t see it through but, having spent a bit of time off the field with the Glamorgan boys, I’m extremely happy for them and that they were the ones to win it.
“From a personal perspective, I was disappointed to miss out on The Hundred after being picked initially, but that’s life. I’m hoping that I’ve put in enough noteworthy white-ball performances this year to put myself in the frame for next season’s Hundred and beyond.”
In recent years, Essex have become accustomed to fighting for the top honours towards the back end of the season. This year, however, Harmer admits that he and his side have had to establish some new goals for the last month of the domestic season.
“We want to win Division Two which we’re playing in at the moment. It wasn’t ideal that we didn’t make it into Division One but we’ve only got ourselves to blame. We can all agree that we weren’t at our best.
"We’ve always come from behind to finish seasons strongly so we need to make sure we do that once again this year."
“We need to make the best of a bad situation and finish this season strong, so if there is a change back to a two divisional structure then we can make sure we’re in the top division from next season. We’ve always come from behind to finish seasons strongly so we need to make sure we do that once again this year.”
One thing that has stayed the same, however, is seeing Harmer’s name at the top of the PCA MVP Rankings. The 32-year-old currently has a healthy lead at the summit of the cross-format Overall MVP, and he is looking to make it three wins in three years after claiming the award in both 2019 and 2020.
“I’m aware that guys like Craig Overton, who has been amazing for the past few years, miss games through England duty, but if I can put in strong performances for Essex then winning the MVP is always a nice bonus. It’s a great reflection at the end of the season to look back and see how you’ve gone against some seriously talented players all around the country.
“I don’t know if anyone’s done three from three so to be the first to do it would be incredible!”
Inspired Jones makes it two in two
Central Sparks and Birmingham Phoenix’s Eve Jones continues her fantastic season by winning a second PCA Player of the Month award in succession. The Sparks skipper held off Alice Capsey, Linsey Smith and Erin Burns to win this month’s award with a huge 66% of the public vote.
It means that Jones has won two of the three women’s PCA Player of the Month awards that have been handed out – South East Stars’ Bryony Smith was the only other winner this season in June.
Jones scored by far the most MVP points of any women’s domestic player in August with 131. Speaking to the PCA, she explained how she has been able to carry her inspired form across competitions throughout the month: “It’s obviously nice to be recognised for the good performances that I’ve put in, especially after a month that included The Hundred which I think was a huge success. I’m really chuffed with how I’ve gone and I hope I can continue that into the end of the season.
“I like to think that this has been one of my best years. I worked really hard over the winter and I’ve really benefited from getting one of the new domestic contracts.
“The work that I’ve been able to do on my game as a result has been really good for me. I’ve also had a lot of help from behind the scenes which has really helped me to get better.”
Jones’ form helped Phoenix to reach the eliminator stage of the Hundred, where they suffered heartbreak at the hands of Oval Invincibles. Undeterred, she has played some scintillating cricket in the Charlotte Edwards Cup where she has made three successive fifties as Sparks won two of their final three group fixtures.
“It was disappointing to go out of The Hundred in the way we did. We were in control for a large part of the game so to not get over the line was tough, but that’s part of cricket.
"My dream is to play at Lord’s so fingers crossed we’re able to get there next season."
“Those types of tournaments are short and sweet, they go by really quickly. The motivation is definitely to get back to Lord’s next year. My dream is to play at Lord’s so fingers crossed we’re able to get there next season.
“The Hundred and the Charlotte Edwards Cup are similar formats, so I’ve just tried to take my confidence from one competition into the other. It’s been brilliant to pull off a few scores and we won two out of our last three fixtures at Central Sparks since we got back.
“We’re disappointed we’re not at Finals Day but there are a lot of positives to take from that and hopefully we can push on in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and go all the way to round off this season!”