There were several close finishes in the latest round of LV= County Championship matches, with Middlesex, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire all triumphing in their respective matches.
Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones ended with three wickets apiece as MIDDLESEX came from behind to beat SURREY in spectacular fashion by just three runs at Lord’s. Going into the day on 95 for four, needing just 46 more for victory, the visitors had appeared comfortable favourites, but they lost Tom Maynard (15), Chris Jordan (0) and Gareth Batty (0) early on, and, when skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown followed soon afterwards for an excellent 63, the end appeared nigh. Jon Lewis resisted further with an unbeaten 21, but Murtagh had Jade Dernbach caught with four still needed to complete an unexpected Middlesex victory.
DURHAM made NOTTINGHAMSHIRE wait for their second win of the season at Chester-le-Street, as the last wicket pair of Graham Onions and Mitchell Claydon added exactly 50 to the home side’s overnight 203 for nine before the latter was caught off Samit Patel for a career-best 55 to seal the win for the Outlaws.
Peter Trego looked to have turned SOMERSET’s match against WARWICKSHIRE at Edgbaston the way of the visitors by taking four wickets during an inspired spell in the morning session only for Jeetan Patel’s late cameo to hand the Bears a thrilling two-wicket win.
In the second close finish of the day following events at Lord’s, Warwickshire had looked to be cruising towards their target of 259 at 190 for three, but Trego dispensed with Darren Maddy (23), William Porterfield (84) and Tim Ambrose (0) in the space of three overs and was rewarded further when Keith Barker trod on his stumps a little later to make it 207 for eight.
It was then that New Zealand off-spinner Patel decided to counter-attack as he dominated an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 55 with home captain Jim Troughton (15 not out) to see Warwickshire home and end with 43 not out from 36 balls.
A spirited seventh-wicket partnership of 118 between Michael Bates and Chris Wood was not quite enough to deny GLOUCESTERSHIRE victory at The Rose Bowl. HAMPSHIRE, chasing 290 to win after bowling the visitors out for 174 in their second innings, looked to have thrown the match away at 72 for six, but Bates and Wood both passed 50. Wood was eventually out for 65, but Bates added a further 56 for the eighth wicket with Hamza Riazuddin (28) prior to falling for 87. The match was ended soon afterwards as the hosts were all out for 256 with Will Gidman ending four 66 and Ian Saxelby and David Payne taking three wickets apiece.
The third batch of MCC university matches ended today with all three centres of excellence giving a good account of themselves over the past three days, and, in doing so, countering some of the criticism levelled at them over the recent days.
OXFORD MCCU conceded a negligible 29-run first innings lead to WORCESTERSHIRE at The Parks after being dismissed for a handsome 435 in their first innings. Scotsman Freddie Coleman hit 110 and took his fourth-wicket partnership with captain Ben Williams (92) to 183 before the duo were parted by Shaaiq Choudhry (three for 82). Jack Shantry helped wrap up the innings on the way to figures of four for 102, but the students were not finished yet. They had reduced the visitors to 34 for four second time around by the time stumps were drawn and had the satisfaction of getting rid of Daryl Mitchell – who had criticised the standard of opposition that the universities provide prior to the match – for just seven.
LOUGHBOROUGH MCCU ended on 122 for three in pursuit of a hypothetical 304 to win against LEICESTERSHIRE after the visitors had declared their second innings on 141 for six. Josh Cobb had top-scored for the Foxes with an unbeaten 29, while Adam Riley, Robert Taylor and Toby Lester each took two wickets. Nitesh Patel hit 38 in the students’ reply, with Kent wicket-keeper Sam Billings closing unbeaten on 36.
YORKSHIRE’s match against LEEDS/BRADFORD MCCU petered out into a draw on the final day after a hail storm around tea made any more play impossible. The home side ended on 91 for two in pursuit of 266 to win, with Joe Sayers (41 not out) and Anthony McGrath (43) enjoying useful time in the middle.
Resuming on 127 for six, Derbyshire seamer Matt Higginbottom had earlier helped prolong the visitors’ second innings to 189 with an unbeaten 30, while Azeem Rafiq ended with two of the four wickets to fall for Yorkshire.
© Cricket World 2012