Middlesex finally claim first County Championship victory

MIDDLESEX finally opened their County Championship division two account at the fifth attempt with an exciting six-wicket win over Derbyshire at Lord s on Monday. With rain forecast during the afternoon Ed Smith s side batted positively from the start and

MIDDLESEX finally opened their County Championship division two account at the fifth attempt with an exciting six-wicket win over Derbyshire at Lord's on Monday.

With rain forecast during the afternoon Ed Smith's side batted positively from the start and although a total of 19 overs were lost to bad light and rain Middlesex got home with 10 overs to spare.

Coach Toby Radford said his side had deserved their first win, adding: "I thought we played well and batted well.

"We scored pretty much four an over. Shaun Udal (pictured below) was probably our best batsman, he's come in several times and bailed us out."

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The visitors began the last day 242 ahead, Jonathan Clare (57) hitting two fours to pass his half-century as 13 runs were added to set Middlesex a target of 256 in a minimum of 91 overs.

Billy Godleman and Smith began the chase in positive fashion, so positively that Smith's bat broke in the third over. Godleman was lbw to Chris Langeveldt for eight, which brought Owais Shah to the wicket. Both batsmen peppered the boundary boards trying to score runs quickly, with Smith reaching his 50 off just 52 balls.

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The 100 came up in the 23rd over and Middlesex went into lunch on 102-1 with Smith 67 not out and Shah (24no).

A further 22 runs were added in six overs after lunch before Smith was bowled by Needham for a superb innings of 74, made off just 81 balls.

Then, Ed Joyce began in one-day mode with the rain clouds gathering, taking a boundary off Langeveldt and off Needham before pulling Needham into the grandstand for six.

Two more boundaries came from Joyce's bat in Langeveldt's 17th over and Middlesex were 166-2 when the umpires brought the players off the field for bad light which subsequently turned to rain.

Play resumed after a delay of 84 minutes - which included the tea interval - and resulted in a loss of 17 overs.

Only two overs were possible before the umpires again called a halt to play due to bad light - Shah reached his 50 (off 110 balls) during the two overs.

Play restarted again after a break of nine minutes, taking a further two overs off the day's overs. At that point, Middlesex had reached 174-2, requiring a further 82 runs from 30 overs.

Eleven runs were added in two overs by Shah after the resumption but they then lost Joyce, who was caught at mid-on, having made 34 off just 33 balls.

Yet, with plenty of overs still remaining, the only worry for Middlesex was the poor light and threat of rain.

The 200 came up in the 48th over and Eoin Morgan was badly missed two overs later by Wagg at backward square-leg when he had made eight.

Shah and Morgan batted sensibly, pushing the ball into the gaps and running sharp singles so that by the time the last hour of 16 overs was signalled, Middlesex required only 23 runs for victory. Unfortunately, Shah was yorked by a Langeveldt delivery having made 86 off 161 balls. But Vernon Philander (10no), playing his last innings for the club before returning to South Africa, and Morgan (33no) saw Middlesex to a much-needed victory.

In the first innings, Middlesex scored 262 all out in reply to Derbyshire's 244.

Scott (66) top scored for Middlesex while Joyce (58) and Shaun Udal (40no) offered solid support. Tim Murtagh took 3-82 while Philander (2-29), Nannes (2-33) and Udal (2-36) all pitched in. Murtagh was again Middlesex's top wicket taker in the second innings with 4-70 while Philander (3-60) and Udal (2-54) also bowled well.


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