DAY 4 CLOSE OF PLAY
LANCASHIRE WIN BY 8 WICKETS
Lancashire 309 and 111-2 bt Middlesex 180 & 236.
A first Championship five wicket haul for Stephen Parry and a timely knock from England opener Haseeb Hameed ensured there were no major scares for Lancashire as they wrapped up an eight wicket win against title holders Middlesex at Southport.
This was a fine performance from Lancashire who shrugged off their recent drubbing by Yorkshire to inflict a first Championship defeat on the visitors since September 2015 – a run of 21 games – in what was effectively a three day affair after Saturday’s total wash out.
Hameed, who has been in awful form for his county this season, scored a characteristically patient 38 unbeaten from 81 balls as Lancashire passed their target of 108 with a flourish thanks to straight six from skipper Steven Croft who finished not out on 34.
Faced with the modest total, Lancashire lost their first wicket in the final over before the lunch interval when wicket keeper Alex Davies edged Toby Roland Jones to his fellow glove man John Simpson for 13.
Following the interval Liam Livingstone joined Hameed at the crease with the 23-year-old celebrating his call up to England’s squad for the three-match NatWest IT20 series against South Africa with a characteristically energetic 22 before a three-ball sequence saw him dropped at second slip by James Franklin, hit on the gloves by Roland Jones before edging one behind.
The day had started with Middlesex holding a slender 27 run lead with four wickets in hand but that became three after half hour’s play when James Harris edged a steepling delivery from Ryan McLaren to Davies for 19.
15 minutes later and Davies had another victim when Dawid Malan’s resistance ended following a battling 52 as he got another good one from McLaren.
That left Middlesex on 180-8 and staring down the barrel but Tim Murtagh and Roland Jones had other ideas as they biffed and bludgeoned their way to a 49 partnership before Murtagh was stumped off the bowling of Parry for 27.
A lead of 100 gave Middlesex a whiff of a chance if they could add another 30-40 runs but it wasn’t to be as Parry picked up his fifth wicket with Roland Jones out lbw for 31 off 32 balls.
DAY FOUR - LUNCH
Lancashire 309 & 13-1 v Middlesex 180 & 236
Lancashire went into lunch on the final day of this Specsavers County Championship clash against Middlesex with just 95 runs required for victory.
They will have to do it without opener Alex Davies who edged behind off Toby Roland Jones on the stroke of lunch for 13 leaving England opener Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone to push for the win after the interval.
Earlier in the session Stephen Parry picked up his fifth wicket of the innings trapping Toby Roland Jones lbw for a very entertaining 31 off 32 balls as the visitors were all out for 236 setting Lancashire a target of 108 runs to win. Parry finished with 5-45 which is his first in Championship cricket and his first first class five for in ten years. Credit to wicket keeper Alex Davies who finished with 10 victims in the match and also to Ryan McLaren who was superb once again with the ball finishing with figures of 3-48.
DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY
A stirring fightback from Lancashire’s tail-enders and three wickets for slow left armer Stephen Parry ensured it will be the hosts who go into the final day of this Specsavers County Championship clash with Middlesex hoping for victory.
Following Saturday’s total wash out a complete day’s play was possible with only the blustery conditions preventing this from being a perfect experience for the patient Southport spectators as Lancashire fought hard to contrive a winnable position and raise the possibility of ending Middlesex’s 21 match unbeaten run.
At the close of an extended final session Middlesex are 27 runs ahead and with only four wickets in hand to help them extend their slender lead after Lancashire compiled an unlikely total of 309 in their first innings.
Crucial to the change in momentum of the Lancashire effort was Ryan McLaren who came in to bat following the early loss of Shiv Chanderpaul who had failed to add to his overnight score of 32 when he edged Tim Murtagh to Sam Robson at first slip.
125-5 quickly became 136-6 as Dane Villas also fell to Murtagh but with Lancashire rocking a 62 run partnership for the seventh wicket between McLaren and Jordan Clark saw the Red Rose eke out a lead before James Harris trapped Clark in front for 38 with the same bowler dismissing Parry caught at second slip by Dawid Malan soon afterwards.
Tom Bailey then joined McLaren at the crease for an even more productive partnership as the pair extended the total to 291 before the South African was bowled by Murtagh, who picked up 6-63 off his 28 overs, for 75.
Bailey, determined to go down all guns blazing, hit two consecutive sixes before holing out to Stevie Eskinazi to give James Harris his fourth wicket as he reached a career best score of 58.
A lead of 129 looked incredibly useful and was made to look even better when Nick Gubbins was adjudged to have edged Saquib Mahmmod behind for one despite retrospective evidence that it had hit his arm rather than his glove. Robson and Eskinazi looked to rebuild the innings from 5-1 and they had reached 64 when the latter was beaten by a fine delivery from Parry and bowled for 42.
Seven overs later Robson joined him in the dressing room after he played a loose to shot to a wide one from McLaren and was pouched by a leaping Steven Croft at backward point. Seam and swing bowling had so far dominated the game but it was Parry, who did not even bowl in the first innings, who now began to determine the course of events.
The 30th over saw the left armer claim two wickets in four balls as Paul Stirling was trapped in front for 12 before wicket keeper John Simpson was caught at short leg by a diving Vilas for a duck to leave the Middlesex innings in tatters at 99-5 and still 30 runs in arrears.
Lancashire’s day was topped off when Mahmood bowled skipper James Franklin without scoring with an excellent yorker to leave Malan (45no ) and Harris (15no) battling their way to 156-6 at the close.
DAY THREE - TEA
Lancashire 309 v Middlesex 180 and 48-1
Lancashire made an early breakthrough to leave Middlesex 48-1 as the visitors set about making inroads to the host’s first innings lead of 129.
An unhappy Nick Gubbins was the man to make way after he was adjudged caught behind off Saquib Mahmood for one with the Middlesex opener indicating the ball had hit his arm as he trudged off the lively Southport pitch.
The session began with Lancashire’s tail enders extending the Red Rose's lead beyond 100 with some enterprising running and some lusty blows. Ryan McLaren scored 75 as he and Tom Bailey put on 87 for the ninth wicket off exactly 20 overs before Tim Murtagh picked up his sixth wicket of the innings with one that jagged back and bowled the South African all rounder. Bailey then took over reaching a career best 58 before he was last man out with the score 309.
DAY THREE - LUNCH
Lancashire 217-8 v Middlesex 180
Lancashire went into lunch on the third day of this truncated Specsavers County Championship clash against Middlesex with a very useful first innings lead of 37 runs with two wickets in hand.
Middlesex started the session well, with Tim Murtagh accounting for Shiv Chanderpaul and Dane Vilas inside the first 20 minutes of play.
A 62 run partnership for the seventh wicket between Ryan McLaren and Jordan Clark then saw the Red Rose eke out a lead before James Harris trapped Clark in front for 38 with the same bowler dismissing Parry caught at second slip by Dawid Malan soon afterwards.
McLaren remains unbeaten on 46 with Tom Bailey yet to get off the mark as the hosts look to increase their lead after the interval with the score 217-8 off 76 overs.
DAY TWO - CLOSE OF PLAY
Lancashire 123-4 trail Middlesex 180 by 57 runs
Heavy and persistent rain prevented any play on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Lancashire and Middlesex at Southport.
The overnight and early morning rain ceased at about 9.30, at which time there seemed some prospect that some play would be possible. However, a shower at lunchtime was merely the prelude to further heavier precipitation and play was eventually abandoned by the umpires, Steve O’Shaughnessy and Peter Hartley, at 3.00p.m.
The forecast is better for the remaining two days of this game and Lancashire will resume on 123 for 4, 57 runs in arrears of Middlesex’s first-innings total of 180, when the game continues on Sunday. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is 32 not out and Dane Vilas is unbeaten on 24.
DAY TWO - LUNCH
There will be no play before lunch on the second morning of the Specsavers County Championship between Lancashire and Middlesex at Southport.
The heavy rain, which had been forecast to continue for most of Saturday, ceased at about 9.30 and umpires Steve O’Shaughnessy and Peter Hartley will be conducting their second inspection of the day at 1.00. An early lunch is to be taken at 12.45.
Lancashire will resume their second innings on 123-4, still 57 runs in arrears of Middlesex’s first innings total but with Shivnarine Chanderpaul unbeaten on 32 and Dane Vilas on 24 not out. The home side may therefore consider themselves to hold a slight advantage, although it is nothing that a couple of wickets would not change.
DAY ONE CLOSE OF PLAY REPORT
Lancashire First Innings: 123 for 4 (trail by 57 runs)
Fourteen wickets fell on a compelling opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash between Lancashire and Middlesex at Southport, as the hosts took a slight advantage heading into day two.
It was a bowlers day from start to finish, despite the fact that the near entirety of it was played under sunny skies.
Having won the toss, Middlesex skipper James Franklin wouldn’t have envisaged his side being bowled out before Tea, but six wickets in the afternoon session reduced the visitors from 143-4 to 180 all out.
When Lancashire lost their first two wickets in the first over without a run on the board, 180 began to look a good score, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul spearheaded a gritty response that has just edged Lancashire in front.
Lancashire’s 20-year-old seamer Saqib Mahmood caught the eye at the start of proceedings. Having been talked up as a talent for some time this is just his third first-class game, but he steamed in with good pace and rhythm to Middlesex’s opening pair of Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins.
Mahmood got his reward when Gubbins feathered one down the leg-side and was taken by Alex Davies for just one. Robson looked in good touch on his return from five weeks out with a hamstring injury but edged behind off Bailey for 15.
At 30-2, Middlesex were wobbling somewhat and their cause wasn’t helped when Dawid Malan took on a Bailey short ball from just his 11th delivery faced and popped it straight down the throat of Chanderpaul at fine leg.
Steve Eskinazi was also on his way before lunch, becoming the third to edge behind to Davies. The keeper was becoming a key factor in the match and ended the innings with six catches – just one short of equalling the Lancashire record for most dismissals in an innings.
He picked up his fourth catch when Paul Stirling advanced down the track to Mahmood and suffered a leg-side death one run short of his half-century. Stirling had looked confident at the crease, hitting nine boundaries and one big six.
But his dismissal at 143-4 triggered something of a collapse. Franklin chopped on to give Mahmood a third, before Jordan Clark struck twice in the 47th over to remove James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones – both caught by Davies.
John Simpson provided stout resistance to the relentless tumbling of wickets, bringing up his 50 from 79 balls but he rapidly ran out of partners. Murtagh fell to Ryan McLaren for a duck and Ravi Patel picked out Stephen Parry in the deep off Clark to end the innings in double-quick time.
Wicket-keepers were flavour of the day as Simpson swiftly joined Davies in racking up the catches, holding the first three wickets of the Lancashire innings.
The first two fell in Tim Murtagh’s opening over when Davies fell to the second ball of the innings and Liam Livingstone edged behind while advancing down the track for a golden duck. Lancashire were 0-2 and captain Steven Croft had to survive a hat-trick ball.
But survive it he did and, alongside Haseeb Hameed, began to dig in for Lancashire. The pair shared a gritty 50-partnership for the third wicket.
However, the leg-side strangle had also dominated proceedings and remarkably Hameed became the fourth batsman to suffer the most frustrating of dismissals when he feathered one through to Simpson for 18.
Croft would also fall for a well-made 31, but Lancashire’s Kolpak pairing of Chanderpaul and Dane Vilas saw them through to the close on 123-4.
DAY ONE TEA REPORT
Middlesex First Innings: 180 All Out
Lancashire took six wickets in the afternoon session to dismiss Middlesex before Tea on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship clash at Southport.
Having won the toss, Middlesex skipper James Franklin wouldn’t have envisaged his side being bowled out barely halfway through the day. But he was one of the wickets to fall as the reigning county champions slipped from 143-4 to 180 all out.
That was after Paul Stirling had started the afternoon session well, including launching Saqib Mahmood for a big six, before he triggered the collapse by feathering down the leg-side one short of his 50.
John Simpson did resist with an unbeaten half-century but all wickets were shared among Lancashire’s seamers, while keeper Alex Davies took six catches – one short of the first-class club record.
DAY ONE LUNCH REPORT
Middlesex First Innings: 102/4
Despite being asked to bowl by Middlesex, it was the Lancashire seamers who enjoyed greater success this morning under sunny skies at Southport, claiming four Middlesex wickets before the lunch interval.
20-year-old seamer Saqib Mahmood particularly caught the eye, bowling with good rhythm and pace, including claiming the wicket of Nick Gubbins caught behind for one.
Tom Bailey also claimed a couple of scalps as Sam Robson, who looked in good early touch after five weeks out, also edged to Alex Davies before Dawid Malan put a short ball straight down the throat of Shivnarine Chanderpaul at fine leg.
Lancashire didn’t relent, with Ryan McLaren continuing his impressive season with the ball to claim his 16th wicket of the campaign when Steve Eskinazi became Davies’ third catch of the morning.
Paul Stirling, 27*, and John Simpson, 15*, will resume after the lunch interval.