Middlesex slumped to a humiliating defeat by an innings and 127 runs on the final day of the LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Hove. Chris Rogers and Dawid Malan survived the opening thirty-nine minutes of the mornings’ play, taking Middlesex to 89-1 before a dramatic collapse saw them lose eight wickets in the space of just sixty-two minutes. Last man Steve Finn struck a breezy 26 which included a six and three fours before Steve Magoffin completed the rout as Middlesex were 154 all out.
Rogers and Malan resumed the Middlesex second innings on 57-1 on a glorious spring day at Hove and all went well as they took the total to 88-1 before James Anyon replaced Steve Magoffin at the Sea End. After Malan scored a single off the first ball of the over, Chris Rogers was caught at the wicket by Ben Brown off the fourth ball for 41. Neil Dexter scored five runs before he was caught by Ed Joyce at third slip off Jon Lewis’s bowling. Eoin Morgan avoided a pair but he managed only two runs before James Anyon had him caught at the wicket.
Adam Rossington got off the mark with a first ball four to fine-leg but Dawid Malan fell in the next over for 36 when he was well caught by Michael Yardy at second slip off the bowling of Jon Lewis. John Simpson joined Rossington who was LBW for four in the following over from Anyon. James Harris joined Simpson with the total on 103-6 and the pair added a further ten runs before Magoffin, who returned to the attack at the Cromwell Road End, struck twice in an over. John Simpson was caught by Yardy at second slip for five and Toby Roland-Jones was bowled for a first ball duck.
Tim Murtagh avoided the ‘hat-trick’ but Magoffin struck again in his following over when he bowled James Harris for ten. Last-man Steve Finn joined Murtagh with the total on 122-9 and he played some fine shots including a six over mid-wicket off Magoffin’s bowling. The extra half an hour was claimed at the scheduled luncheon interval and Magoffin wrapped things up when he bowled Finn for 26 to finish with figures of 5-56 in 17.1 overs. James Anyon had figures of 3-67 in 15 overs whist Jon Lewis took 2-21 in 14 overs. To make matters worse for Middlesex, they lost two of the three bowling points gained in the match due to a slow over-rate.
In the morning, Sussex resumed their first innings on 88-3 and although Middlesex reduced the hosts to 152-5, a hundred by Matt Prior plus the tail wagging enabled Sussex to gain a first innings lead of 281. In the remaining time available, Middlesex lost Sam Robson for a single but Chris Rogers and Dawid Malan saw the visitors reach 57-1 before bad light resulted in the loss of two overs.
Matt Prior began the day on 32 not out and he survived a difficult chance to Adam Rossington at second slip in the second over of the day, bowled by James Harris. Prior reached his fifty in the fifth over of the day (off 49 balls, 11 fours) but in Roland-Jones next over, Prior hooked a ball to long-leg which James Harris got his hands to the ball but it burst through his fingers and went for a six.
Steve Finn replaced Harris in the attack from the Sea End and he started with two maiden overs. Prior and Machan took the total to 148-3 before Finn bowled Machan for 38. Finn struck again in his following over when he had Zaidi well caught by Sam Robson at third slip for four to reduce Sussex to 152-5. Ben Brown joined Prior and Brown played himself in before hitting James Harris for two fours in an over and then pulling a Toby Roland-Jones delivery for six, over mid-wicket. Prior was six runs short of his hundred when the final over before lunch started, but he drove Roland-Jones through the covers for four and then on drove the next ball to the long-on boundary to reach a 112 ball hundred which included 1 six & 17 fours, Sussex going into lunch on 209-5.
After a 27 minute delay due to rain, Tim Murtagh and Steve Finn returned to the attack but the runs continued to flow as Prior and Brown took Sussex to 244-5 before Brown was caught at first slip by Dawid Malan for 44 off Finn’s bowling. Matt Prior’s fine innings ended when he pulled a Steve Finn delivery straight into the hands of James Harris at deep mid-wicket to be dismissed for 125 (off 138 balls, 1 six & 19 fours).
Steffan Piolet and James Anyon came together with the total on 253-7 but they applied themselves sensibly, taking Sussex to 305-7 before Steve Finn returned to the attack in the 78th over. Finn then had Piolet well caught by Adam Rossington at second slip for 25 to give Finn a five wicket haul. Anyon then hit Roland-Jones for successive fours before Middlesex took the new ball with the total on 316-8.
Jimmy Anyon reached an 87 ball fifty (9 fours) in the 83rd over but in the following over, Steve Finn struck again when he had Anyon caught by Neil Dexter at mid-wicket for exactly fifty. Last man Jon Lewis joined Steve Magoffin at the wicket with the total on 335-9 but Middlesex’s hopes of wrapping up the innings quickly were thwarted by Lewis who played in typical forthright fashion.
The pair added a further fifty runs for the last wicket and the tea interval was delayed by thirty minutes as Sussex reached 385-9. With only a further fifteen runs needed for maximum batting bonus points, Sussex continued their innings after tea but from the third ball after the break, Lewis attempted to run a second leg-bye but was run out for 35 by Toby Roland-Jones’ direct hit on the ‘keepers end stumps from long-leg. Sussex were 386 all-out with Magoffin 19 not out: Steve Finn had excellent figures of 6-80 from 21.3 overs with Tim Murtagh taking 2-95 in 27 overs, James Harris 1-78 in 19 overs, whilst Toby Roland-Jones finished on 0-94 in 19 overs and Neil Dexter 0-27 in 27 overs. Unfortunately, Middlesex may lose two points due to a slow over-rate if they do not manage to make Sussex bat again.
A total of twenty-one overs remained to bat when Chris Rogers and Sam Robson began the Middlesex second innings 281 runs in arrears. Eight runs came off the first over which included a no-ball from Steve Magoffin that Rogers dispatched through the covers for four. However in the fifth over of the innings, Sam Robson played no shot to a Magoffin delivery and was bowled for a single. Dawid Malan joined Rogers with the total on 9-1 but the pair battled through to the close of play with Middlesex on 57-1 with Rogers 27 not out and Malan 21 not out.
Play abandoned without a ball being bowled on Day 2 due to rain.
Sussex won an important toss on the opening day of the LV= County Championship match at Hove. After early morning rain delayed the start of play by an hour, play started with the floodlights on and under the cover of cloud. In bowler friendly conditions, Middlesex slipped from 57-2 to 105 all-out with the hosts replying with 86-3 before play was abandoned for the day due to poor light.
Middlesex omitted Joe Denly, Ollie Rayner and Tom Helm from the fourteen man squad with Adam Rossington playing purely as a batsman and a four-pronged seam attack plus Neil Dexter. They lost skipper Chris Rogers (4) in the third over of the innings when Steve Magoffin found the edge of Rogers’ bat and Piolet took the catch in the gully. Dawid Malan joined Sam Robson at the wicket and the pair took Middlesex to 36-1 before Robson was caught at the wicket by Ben Brown for 11 (although Matt Prior was playing for Sussex, Brown was keeping wicket). Neil Dexter joined Malan and they took the visitors to 40-2 at lunch after 15 overs.
James Anyon and Jonathon Lewis continued to bowl after lunch and the Middlesex total advanced to 57-2 before Lewis struck twice in successive balls. Neil Dexter was caught at the wicket by Ben Brown for six and Eoin Morgan was comprehensively bowled for a first ball duck, with only one stump remaining. Adam Rossington avoided the ‘hat-trick’ ball and Dawid Malan had played some fine drives through the covers before he was caught by Ed Joyce at second slip, off Lewis for 35.
John Simpson joined Adam Rossington but with the total on 73-5, Lewis took his fourth wicket after lunch when he had Rossington caught at the wicket by Ben Brown for eight. James Harris came in but John Simpson was caught by Ed Joyce at third slip off Steve Magoffin for two without addition to the total. James Harris made six before he played down the wrong line to left-arm spinner Zaidi’s first ball and was bowled to reduce Middlesex to 82-8.
Tim Murtagh joined Toby Roland-Jones and they added a further four runs before Murtagh attempted a big hit in Zaidi’s second over and was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Matt Prior for three. Last man, Steve Finn came to the wicket with the score on 86-9 and with Roland-Jones batted sensibly and added a further nineteen runs before Steve Magoffin wrapped-up the innings when he bowled Roland-Jones for 17. Steve Finn was six not out off 32 balls; Jon Lewis had figures of 4-34 from 14 overs with Magoffin taking 3-21 in 13.2 overs, Zaidi 2-10 in 6 overs and Anyon 1-26 in 10 overs.
Tim Murtagh and James Harris opened the bowling for Middlesex but Ed Joyce took seven runs off the opening over from Murtagh and scored five runs off the opening over from James Harris before Tim Murtagh bowled Joyce in his second over for twelve. Michael Yardy joined Luke Wells and Yardy scored two fine cover-driven fours as the hosts reached 28-1 after seven overs.
James Harris then had Wells caught by Sam Robson at third slip for four to bring Matt Prior to the wicket. Prior and Yardy took Sussex to 42-2 before Michael Yardy was LBW to Tim Murtagh for seventeen. Steve Finn had replaced Harris at the Sea End and he was unlucky in his third over when Adam Rossington, diving at second slip, got his finger-tips to an edge but the ball went to the boundary. Finn was unlucky again in his following over when Matt Prior hooked him to long-leg but Toby Roland-Jones spilt the catch with Prior on ten.
Prior then hit Murtagh for two fours in his ninth over and scored two fours in Toby Roland-Jones’ first over which cost a total of twelve runs. The total reached 86-3 after 20.3 overs at which point the umpires brought the players off the ground due to bad-light. Prior was 32 not out with Machan 21 not out: Tim Murtagh had figures of 2-35 from 9 overs with James Harris taking 1-14 in 5 overs.
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