COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017-18
Cricbuzz Staff •
Nick Compton top scored in Middlesex’s run chase with a 49 © Getty
Defending champions Middlesex picked up 22 points and recorded their second win of the 2017 County Championships when they pipped Warwickshire to the post in a thrilling finish at Edgbaston on Thursday (July 6). Middlesex were down to Nos. 10 and 11 – Tom Helm and Tim Murtagh – with seven runs still to score in their 234-run target. The duo picked four singles off Rikki Clarke and then Murtagh hit the three remaining runs off Boyd Rankin to complete a memorable triumph.
Warwickshire maybe the bottom-placed team in Division One by some distance this season, but they pushed Middlesex all through the game (even tying their much-vaunted opposition for first innings bragging rights 334-334). On the final day, Keith Barker and George Panayi struck early to prize out the key wickets of Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling. The visitors, reduced to 79 for 4, now confronted the very real possibility of a defeat.
Two defining partnerships swung the game in Middlesex’s favour. Nick Compton added 43 with keeper-batsman John Simpson (40) for the fifth wicket. After Compton was stumped off Jeetan Patel one short of a half-century, Ryan Higgins (45) added 48 with Simpson. James Harris and Ollie Rayner added 29 crucial runs between themselves, all of which proved decisive as Middlesex held on for victory.
Brief scores: Warwickshire 334 & 233 lost to Middlesex 334 & 234/9 (Nick Compton 49, Ryan Higgins 45; Keith Barker 2-39) by one wicket
Somerset picked up their first win of the 2017 County Championships with an incisive bowling performance that blew away Yorkshire on the final day of the clash at Scarborough. James Hildreth completed his 40th first class ton in the morning before Somerset declared their second innings, setting Yorkshire an imposing target of 337. The 33-time champions had a little over 80 overs to bat out on the day to hold on but produced a forgettable effort with the bat to implode to 157 all out.
Craig Overton took four wickets to go with his first-innings fifer but it was his bowling partner Lewis Gregory, who set the ball rolling by bowling Alex Lees in the first over of the chase. Overton took the next three wickets, including the key scalp of Peter Handscomb as Yorkshire slipped to 36 for 4. When Gregory returned to castle Adam Lyth for 37, the writing was on the wall. Left-arm spinner Jack Leach helped himself to four wickets and only Liam Plunkett’s breezy 39 helped Yorkshire delay the inevitable defeat. Somerset picked up 21 points while Yorkshire got only 4.
Brief scores: Somerset 268 & 281/4 decl. (James Hildreth 101*; Ben Coad 2-62) beat Yorkshire 213 & 157 (Liam Plunkett 39; Craig Overton 4-47, Jack Leach 4-51)
In what was easily the most drab of the three Division One encounters of this County Championship round, Surrey and Hampshire played out an attritional final day and took home 10 and 12 points respectively from their high-scoring draw. Rory Burns, who had batted through Day 3, in response to Hampshire’s 648 for 7 declared, carried his bat to record a career-best unbeaten 219. Burns’s battling 423-ball innings, laced with 27 fours and a solitary six, was not enough to help hosts Surrey avoid the follow-on as they finished 165 runs adrift of Hampshire’s first-innings effort.
That meant, Burns kept his pads on and walked back in to bat. He took his match tally to 287 with a fluent 68 in the second innings before being eventually dismissed in the game – stumped off Sean Ervine. Mark Stoneman scored 47 and Jason Roy added an unbeaten 37 before the teams shook hands for a draw in the final session after Surrey eventually took the lead.
Brief scores: Hampshire 648/7 decl. vs Surrey 483 (Rory Burns 219*, Dominic Sibley 57; Ian Holland 3-37) & 166/3 (Rory Burns 68; Ian Holland 2-16) Match Drawn