MATCH DRAWN: Middlesex 271-6 (Robson 75, Eskinazi 62*); Northants 266-9 (Wakely 50, Fuller 3-22)
Northamptonshire batted on the whole of the final day of the two day friendly match at Merchant Taylors’ School but as they only had nine players present on the ground, two of their batsmen who had been dismissed earlier returned to the crease. In reply to Middlesex’s total of 271-6, Northamptonshire reached 266-9 from 89 overs by the close of play and the match was drawn (Northamptonshire had reached 208-8 when Ben Duckett returned to the wicket and it was 210-9 when David Murphy came in for a second innings).
In the morning, Steve Finn opened the bowling with James Fuller and it was Fuller who struck in the 6th over of the innings when he had Ben Duckett caught at cover by Nick Gubbins for six. Northants skipper Alex Wakely joined Murphy with the total on 18-1 and they saw off the threat of Finn who bowled six overs at a cost of twelve runs. James Harris replaced Finn in the attack and after two successive wides (the first of which cost five runs), Harris had Murphy caught at the wicket by Steve Eskinazi for twelve.
Adam Rossington came in with the score on 36-2 and after Fuller completed his opening spell with figures of 1-14 in seven overs, he was replaced by James Franklin. Wakely and Rossington saw Northamptonshire through to 95-2 at lunch with Rossington having hooked James Harris for a four and a six off successive deliveries and Wakely having hit both Franklin and Ollie Rayner for six.
After lunch, Rossington hit Rayner for a six and a four in an over and the total reached 117-2 before Ryan Higgins who had opened the bowling after the break, dismissed Rossington who top-edged a pull and Nick Gubbins took the catch at cover, Rossington having made 45. Saif Zaib joined Wakely but they were tied down by an accurate spell of bowling by Ryan Higgins who had figures of 1-8 from seven overs. Wakely reached his fifty (off 105 balls, 2 sixes &
4 fours) in the 43rd over but he was out without adding to his score when he was bowled by Ollie Rayner for exactly fifty.
Steven Crook came to the wicket and he scored a breezy 30 off 36 balls before he was well caught at long-on by Nick Gubbins off the bowling of Ravi Patel. Munsey came to the wicket but in Patel’s following over he padded-up to a delivery and was LBW for a duck. Harry Adair joined Zaib who hit Patel for a straight six and the pair took the visitors to tea on 196-6 after 67 overs.
A new-ball was taken immediately after tea by James Harris and James Fuller and Zaib survived sharp chances in the slips off successive overs before he was caught at the wicket by Steve Eskinazi off Fuller’s bowling for 32. When Graeme White was out in the same fashion in Fuller’s next over for a duck, Northamptonshire were 208-8. At this point, Ben Duckett came in for his second knock of the day and he lost Adair in the following over when he was superbly caught in the gully by substitute fielder Max Holden for thirteen.
David Murphy re-appeared for a second innings of the day with the total on 210-9 in the 78th over. Thereafter, Duckett enjoyed himself by taking fourteen runs off Ravi Patel’s 16th over and sixteen in Patel’s 18th over. By the close of play, the pair had taken Northamptonshire to 266-9 with Duckett 40 not out and Murphy 15 not out.
James Fuller had figures of 3-22 in 13 overs with James Harris taking 2-42 in 13 overs, Ravi Patel 2-68 in 18 overs, Ollie Rayner 1-42 in 15 overs, James Franklin 0-32 in 11 overs and Toby Roland-Jones 0-27 in 6 overs.
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