PCA PRESS RELEASE
Essex and Somerset stars rise to the top ahead of Lord’s showpiece.
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Simon Harmer, Craig Overton and Josh Davey all feature in the top six of the PCA Bob Willis Trophy Most Valuable Player Rankings ahead of the tournament finale between Essex and Somerset beginning at Lord’s on Wednesday 23 September.
It is hard to argue against those two sides being the best in the country at the moment, and so it has proved that their star players feature heavily at the top end of the Rankings, which are designed to identify the match-winning performers and key influencers in any given fixture.
The irrepressible Harmer, who last year scooped the cross-format Overall MVP award as well as the Specsavers County Championship MVP, scored 34 MVP points during his side’s nine-wicket victory over MIddlesex this week to claim yet another Man of the Match award and remain top of the BWT Rankings with 180 points.
He’s at it again… 🌪️
🏅 A close call for the MVP in this one, but Simon Harmer nicks it!
☝️ Match figures of 6-88
🏏 A useful 32 with the bat
📊 33.89 MVP points, and Essex are in the driving seat to reach the final of the #BobWillisTrophy
— PCA MVP Rankings (@pcaMVP) September 8, 2020
A small margin of five MVP points currently separates Harmer from August PCA Player of the Month Overton in second place, whilst the Somerset man’s fast bowling colleague Davey sits just outside the top five with 129 points to his name after passing 100 career first-class wickets this week. The duo are separated by Kent’s Darren Stevens (167 MVP points) in third place, Jamie Overton (130.5 points), whose stats suggest his batting has been just as effective as his bowling this season, in fourth and Warwickshire skipper Will Rhodes (129 points) in fifth.
However, Stevens, Overton and Rhodes will be unable to make any further impact on the BWT MVP after their respective sides exited the tournament on Wednesday. Essex’s Jamie Porter is the next highest ranked player from either of the sides to reach the Bob Willis Trophy final – he sits eleventh in the BWT MVP with 112 MVP points. This means that realistically one of Harmer, Overton and Davey will be named the BWT MVP come the end of the month.
The MVP Rankings were developed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the top performers in every professional fixture, as well as cumulatively across the whole season. At the end of the shortened 2020 season, three men’s domestic MVPs will be named: one each for the Bob Willis Trophy and the Vitality Blast, as well as a cross-format Overall MVP. The Overall Rankings currently closely resemble the BWT table, with Harmer, Craig Overton, Stevens and Davey joined by Gloucestershire all-rounder Ryan Higgins in the top five, though that could still all change with over half of the Vitality Blast schedule still to play.
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy returns
For the first time ever this year, there will also be a domestic women’s MVP named for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. At the halfway point of the group stage, Lightning’s Kathryn Bryce tops the table with both the highest cumulative points total (48.3) as well as the highest points-per-game average (16.1). Bryce’s inspired performance against Northern Diamonds at Chester-le-Street on 31 August, which saw her claim 5-29 with the ball and strike 71 not out with the bat, has been the main catalyst for her position – the Scot earned 40.08 MVP points on that day alone.
Two of the tournament’s best bowlers make up the remainder of the current top three, with Western Storm’s Fi Morris (46 MVP points) and Southern Vipers’ Tara Norris (37 points) occupying second and third spot respectively.
Morris’ teammate, England skipper Heather Knight, is in fourth position with 34.5 points whilst Norris’ colleague Georgia Adams (33 points) completes the top five.
With only 17 points separating Bryce in first from former England international Jenny Gunn in tenth, however, all is to play for as the RHFT gets back underway when Thunder take on Northern Diamonds in Liverpool on Thursday.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.