MIDDLESEX WIN BY AN INNINGS & 116 RUNS: MIDDLESEX 467-3D; HAMPSHIRE 131 & 220
Middlesex completed their first victory of the Championship season in emphatic style by bowling Hampshire out for 220 to win by an innings and 116 runs on the final day at Merchant Taylor’s School, with James Fuller taking five wickets on his Championship debut for the county.
Only inclement weather prevented Middlesex’s win, following six consecutive draws, arriving sooner, as just 17 overs - none to be bowled by Fuller and Roland-Jones due to their extra pace - were possible on the third day of the game. But when the final day got underway, Roland-Jones wasted no time picking up the first of the six wickets they required, with debutant Joe Weatherley prodding half-forward and his off-bail removed.
Jimmy Adams led Hampshire’s resistance, scoring a fine, stoic 78, his second half-century of the season. Adams, who was dropped on 48 by John Simpson off Roland-Jones, pulled powerfully and drove well through cover, and shared 53 with Adam Wheater. As Roland-Jones beat the bat and the ball flew through the cordon regularly, Wheater looked in decent touch, straight driving and pulling off the front foot.
Yet when the pair fell in consecutive overs, Adams trapped in front by James Franklin and Wheater caught behind with leaden feet off the pacy Fuller, a sharp shower soon brought about an early lunch at 12.45.
Tino Best capped a miserable match - during which he was warned for bowling a beamer - by falling for a pair fourth ball after lunch (the previous three had all been bouncers) off Fuller, just turning the ball to mid-on, a near-identical dismissal to the first innings.
Mason Crane joined Ryan McLaren for the last rites of Hampshire’s resistance, with Middlesex’s bulging cordon - at times eight strong - left frustrated with edges simply not going to hand. McLaren twice straight drove beautifully, before Crane slapped to point to become Fuller’s fifth victim. Fuller, bowling with excellent pace and decent bounce, would finish with figures of 5-70 to go with one wicket.
After McLaren frustrated Middlesex with some lusty hitting, taking Hampshire past 200 in the process, Ollie Rayner dismissed James Tomlinson, caught at slip to complete the win. McLaren finished unbeaten on 33.
Middlesex’s win, from which they take a full allocation of 24 points, had been set up by the batting of Dawid Malan, Adam Voges and John Simpson, who all scored centuries before Voges declared on 467-3. Hampshire were then dismissed with ease on the second day, with Roland-Jones and Murtagh taking four wickets each.
Hampshire, who played so impressively to seal their first win of the season against Nottinghamshire last week, picked up just a single bonus point but, due to their over-rate of -2, lost two points and leave the game with one fewer point than they arrived with. As a result, they join Surrey at the bottom of Division One on 50 points.
DAY FOUR LUNCH: MIDDLESEX 467-3D; HAMPSHIRE 131 & 162-7
Middlesex moved to within touching distance of their first Championship win of the season as they took three of the six Hampshire wickets they required on the final morning at Merchant Taylor’s School. A sharp shower brought about an early lunch at 12.45 with Hampshire 162-7, still trailing by 174.
The vital wicket was that of Jimmy Adams, who had battled hard for 78, his second half-century of the season, before being trapped in front by James Franklin. An over later, Adam Wheater, with whom Adams had shared 53, was on his way too, failing to move his feet to James Fuller and edging to third slip.
The pair had batted well in tough conditions after the early dismissal of Joe Weatherley, bowled prodding half-forward to Toby Roland-Jones, who continually beat the outside edge.
Should Middlesex take the three wickets they require on the final afternoon, they will take a maximum allocation of 24 points, while Hampshire will end with -1 points, due to their over-rate of -2 from Middlesex’s first innings.