DAY FOUR - CLOSE OF PLAY

MIDDLESEX 204 a/o & 14/1

HAMPSHIRE 146 a/o

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

A game blighted by autumnal downpours and unplayable conditions at
least provided engaging entertainment on its final day as Middlesex
and Hampshire tussled for bonus points in a rain-ruined Specsavers
County Championship clash in Uxbridge.

Some 14 wickets fell on the fourth day before rain and bad light
returned just after 3.30pm forcing the players to shake hands on a
draw. By then Middlesex had reached 14 for one in their second innings
for an overall lead in the match of 72 runs.

And it was 2016 champions Middlesex who were best pleased with the
result too, banking nine crucial points, while Hampshire travelled home with eight.

Middlesex skipper James Franklin said: “It would have been nice to get
a couple more sessions in for sure, but at the start of the day we set
an objective of getting four bonus points and to take that, as well as
the five for the draw after pretty much only a day’s cricket in total,
is not too bad

“I don’t think we particularly bowled that well today but we manged to
bowl the out in 36 overs, which is a general reflection of the
conditions and the water levels in and around the surface here over
the past four days.

“It closes it all up with two rounds to go and we can control ur own
destiny to a point. We’ve got a home game with Lancashire next up, we
know we’re in for a tough match but if we can get to the levels we’re
capable of we can push for a win.

“We’ve got Toby Roland-Jones back in consideration, Tim Murtagh and
Paul Stirling back in the fold, Dawid Malan possibly back and Nick
Gubbins with us after recovering from a hamstring, so we’ve got all
sorts of things to think about selection wise. It’s a good headache to
have.”

As for his side’s performance, Hampshire coach Craig White said: “It
was a tricky pitch with all the weather about and hard to bat on for
both teams. It was always going to be tough for our depleted team to
leave here with a draw, so to get out of it with eight points is a
reasonable result for us.

“I felt their 204 was a fraction too many. We dropped Simpson when
they were on 160 for eight, had we taken that chance we might have
bowled them out for 170 to 180, which I felt was about par.

“Fidel was good for us. I thought this pitch wouldn’t suite him, but
he found a way. The ball was swinging, so he pitched it up and took
his first five-for for a couple of years. You couldn’t get the ball
out of his hands and really tried hard for us.

“We had quite a few young lads out there batting against a near
Test-match attack, so there were plenty of positives. Joe Weatherley
looked fantastic. He’s got a few 30s for us and for Kent this season,
so his next challenge is building on those good starts and converting
them into bigger scores.”

The best part of 250 overs were lost over the four days to weather, so
inclement that additional covers had to be ferried over from Merchant
Taylors School. Then, to ensure some play went ahead on Thursday
afternoon, the Middlesex squad including their managing director,
Angus Fraser, helped cover the square to ensure some late afternoon
action.

Responding to the Middlesex first innings all-out total of 204,
Hampshire were skittled for 146 inside 32 overs to concede a surprise
first-innings lead of 58 runs.

The visitors lost acting captain Jimmy Adams in only the third over of
the reply when the left-hander feathered a Tom Helm lifter through to
the keeper John Simpson.

Despite looking sound and compact in reaching 35, Joe Weatherley, who
started the season on-loan with Kent, was squared up by a full-length
Helm leg-cutter that took the edge and flew to Adam Voges at second
slip.

Ollie Rayner was introduced for the obligatory over of spin before
lunch and struck with his first delivery by having Tom Alsop caught
behind cutting to one that bounced.

Hampshire’s demise gathered momentum after the interval as Steven Finn
had Sean Ervine (0) and Calvin Dickinson (1) caught behind, while
James Harris skittled Ian Holland (23) and debutant Felix Organ (16)
with near identical full-length swinging deliveries.

The luck continued to fall the way of Middlesex when Harris deflected
a fierce drive by Gareth Berg onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end
to run out Kyle Abbott for 13.

Finn rushed one past Berg’s back-foot defensive shot to pluck out off
stump and give the hosts maximum bowling bonus points and the deposed
England spearhead then polished off the innings by pegging back middle
stump after Fidel Edwards missed an airy drive. Finn finished with
three for 41, Helm three for 43 and Harris two for 27 as Hampshire
succumbed in exactly two-and-a-half hours.

Middlesex had started the final day looking for at least one batting
bonus point as they resumed their protracted first innings on 162 for
seven. Their bid to reach 200 appeared bleak initially when Rayner
departed in the fourth over of the day. Attempting to clip to the
short, leg-side boundary against Abbott, Rayner could only pick out
Mason Crane at forward square-leg and departed for nine having gifted
Abbott his third wicket.

Edwards, the pick of Hampshire’s attack, then snared Helm lbw, working
around his front pad with the hosts still 31 runs shy of their batting
point.

Simpson took that as his cue to unfurl a few drives which, together
with the introduction of leg-spin in the shape of Crane, helped break
Hampshire’s stranglehold and Simson duly pushed a single to backward
square-leg off Crane to raise 200 and with it, the possibly crucial
batting point.

Simpson and Finn added 35 for the 10th wicket before Simpson lost his
middle stump to another good delivery from Edwards who finished with
deserved figures of five for 79. Abbott finished with three for 25
while Holland took two for 31.

-------------------------

DAY FOUR - TEA

MIDDLESEX 204 a/o

HAMPSHIRE 146 a/o

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

Middlesex claimed a surprise first innings lead of 58 after bowling out
Hampshire for 146 inside 37 action-packed overs on the final day of
this Specsavers County Championship clash in Uxbridge.
Having posted 204, the Middlesex seam attack found dangerous lengths
with Steve Finn and Tom Helm bagging three apiece, while James Harris
gave admirable support with two for 27. Joe Weatherley top-scored for
the visitors with a modest 35.

-------------------------

DAY FOUR - LUNCH

MIDDLESEX 204 a/o

HAMPSHIRE 46/3

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

Blue skies ruled in Uxbridge for the first time this week but batting
remained a testing pastime on the final morning of this Specsavers
County Championship clash between Middlesex and Hampshire.

Having finally ended the Middlesex first innings for 204, Hampshire
reached 46 for three at lunch of day four of a game that is destined
to end in a draw having lost seven full sessions to inclement weather
and unplayable conditions.

Responding to the Middlesex total, Hampshire lost acting captain Jimmy
Adams in only the third over of the reply. Fending at one from Tom
Helm that lifted and left him, the left-hander feathered one through
to the keeper Simpson.

Helm and James Harris caused further concerns thereafter and, despite
looking sound and compact for his 35, Weatherley fell just before
lunch. The youngster, who started the season on-loan with Kent, was
squared up by a full-length Helm leg-cutter that took the edge and
flew to Adam Voges at second slip.

Ollie Rayner was introduced for the obligatory over of spin before
lunch and struck with his first delivery by having Tom Alsop (9)
caught behind cutting to one that bounced.

Resuming their first innings on day four and in a sticky spot at 162
for seven, the Middlesex bid for a vital batting bonus point soon came
off the rails when Ollie Rayner departed in the fourth over of the
day.

Attempting to clip to the short, leg-side boundary against Kyle
Abbott, Rayner could only pick out Mason Crane at forward square-leg
and departed for nine having gifted Abbott his third wicket.

Fidel Edwards, the pick of the Hampshire attack, bagged his fourth
scalp when Tom Helm (1) worked around his front pad to an Edwards
off-cutter to go lbw with the hosts still 31 short of a batting point.

John Simpson took that as the cue to go for his shots which, together
with the introduction of leg-spin in the shape of Crane, broke
Hampshire’s stranglehold and Simpson duly pushed a single to backward
square-leg off Crane to raise 200 and with it, the possibly crucial
batting point.

Simpson and Steve Finn added 35 for the 10th wicket in all before
Simpson lost his middle stump to another good delivery from Edwards
that gave the West Indies test bowler deserved figures of five for 79.
Abbott finished with three for 25 while Ian Holland and took two for
31.

---------------------

DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY

MIDDLESEX 162/7

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK 

A day that began under leaden skies and with heat lamps drying sodden
areas around the square, finished in glorious sunshine and a relative feast of
action as Middlesex continued their first innings into the third day
of their rain-ruined Specsavers County Championship clash with
Hampshire.

At stumps, the hosts closes on 162 for seven after 59 overs once
conditions at Uxbridge improved sufficiently for play to finally start
at 4.15pm. In the 28.5 overs possible, Middlesex added 86 runs at a
cost of four more wickets.

With the sun finally shining on his back, it was West Indies’ paceman
Fidel Edwards who gave the visitors their first breakthrough of the
evening to end a fourth-wicket stand of 58 between debutant Max Holden
and Adam Voges, the man to go. Prodding at a snorter that lifted and
left him, the Australian right-hander nicked to second slip where
Jimmy Adams snaffled a sharp low chance that made it 120 for four.

Holden contributed an eye-catching 35 to the cause before blotting his
copybook. Chasing a wider one from Ian Holland, the left-hander edged
an overhead catch into the cordon where Adams pocketed his third catch
of the match.

Kyle Abbott then got into the action, pegging back James Franklin’s
off stump via an inside edge to send the Middlesex skipper packing
without scoring and give Hampshire their second bowling bonus point.
Then, in his next over, Abbott snared James Harris lbw for a duck
after the all-rounder’s late decision to shoulder arms to an in-ducker
ended with the ball brushing his back pad.

The overnight rain and an afternoon shower had led to another
frustrating day and five inspections for umpires Graham Lloyd and
Russell Evans.

The officials planned to resume at 3.30pm with a possible 40 overs to
bowl but, with the teams warming up on the outfield, the rain
returned. To their credit, the Middlesex players, as well as Middlesex's
managing director of cricket, Angus Fraser, helped the groundstaff
drag the covering onto the pitch to ensure some late-afternoon action.

Third-placed Hampshire had hoped to maintain pressure on the top two
but, for reigning champions Middlesex, bonus points and a win remained
more pertinent in fending off the threat of relegation.

“It’s been frustrating,” said Middlesex seam bowler James Harris.
“It’s never good when it hasn’t rained all day and you’re still not
playing by late afternoon. At the big grounds we’ve become accustomed
to outfields that drain in minutes and really good coverage, so much
so, that if it’s not physically raining you expect to be playing.

“That’s not the same at outgrounds and these have been a few ‘old
school’ days if you like where the ground is just so waterlogged and
we can’t get on to play.

“This place is normally baked through at this time of year, and the
outfield is so white that you don’t enjoy diving because it’s bone
hard. Yet this year it looks more like a rugby field in March because
they’ve had 14 to 15 consecutive days where they’ve had rain. The
water table is so high that the rain has nowhere to go, so it’s
nobody’s fault. It’s just a real shame all-round.”

------------------

DAY THREE - LUNCH

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

The Specsavers County Championship clash between Middlesex and
Hampshire continues to fall foul to the September showers with news
that there will be no play before lunch on day three in Uxbridge.

Wednesday afternoon’s deluge coupled with further overnight rain meant
that umpires Graham Lloyd and Russell Evans had little option but to
delay the re-start after their 9.45am inspection. The officials have
asked the players to take an early lunch at noon with a view to a
further inspection of conditions thereafter.

Only 30.1 overs have been played in this rain-ruined match thus far
with Middlesex on 76 for three in the first innings of the
game.

--------------------------------

DAY TWO - ABANDONED

MIDDLESEX 76/3

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

Only 30.1 overs were bowled on day two of this rain-ruined Specsavers
County Championship clash in soggy Uxbridge where Middlesex closes on
76 for three before a short, sharp deluge soon after lunch halted
proceedings for the day.

Asked to bat first after an uncontested toss, Middlesex openers Sam
Robson and Nick Compton fared reasonably well in the opening exchanges
to post 40 as Hampshire’s attack struggled to find a dangerous length.

Fidel Edwards then switched to the Pavilion End to rush one past
Compton’s back-foot push and rearrange middle and off stumps with a
slingy, full-length delivery that seamed off the pitch.

Only 18 runs on and with 28 to his name, Robson – who had just moved
past the 8,000-run milestone in first-class cricket -also returned to
the pavilion after edging low to Jimmy Adams at second slip off the
bowling of Ian Holland.

The hosts lost their third wicket of the session when Stevie Eskinazi
(13) feathered one from Edwards to be superbly caught diving low to
his right by keeper Tom Alsop, which proved the pre-cursor to the
first of three rain breaks.

Adam Voges made it into double figures in two bursts of play either
side of lunch and Max Holden, on his Middlesex championship debut, got
off the mark with a single during a testing batting stint before the
heavens opened once more.

Adams, the acting Hampshire captain, said playing four-day cricket at
an outground in mid-September ‘wasn’t a great recipe for success’. He
added: “We’ve lost a fair bit of time already so we’ll just have to
see what we can come up with after this. Main grounds have the benefit
of improved drainage and better covering, but they’ve just had a Test
match at Lord’s so couldn’t fit us in with their scheduling there.
It’s all just a bit unlucky really.”

Despite an opening day wash-out, the additional sheeting shipped
across on Tuesday afternoon from Merchant Taylors School in Northwood
ensured the pitch and surrounds stayed drier overnight which, together
with the benefit of using heat lamps on the wicket ends, allowed the
second day to start on time.

Hampshire skipper James Vince was forced to miss the game after
picking up a hamstring niggle in the warm-ups, which led to a
first-class debut for Hampshire Academy graduate Felix Organ, an
18-year-old off-spinner and right-hand batsman originally from Sydney,
Australia.

Middlesex also gave a county debut to batsman Holden, who spent the
start of the season on loan with Northamptonshire. He was presented
with his numbered commemorative first-team cap ahead of the game by
Middlesex skipper James Franklin.

---------------------------

DAY TWO - LUNCH

MIDDLESEX 71/3

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

Hampshire picked up three wickets in the first session of their
rain-delayed Specsavers County Championship first division clash with
Middlesex in Uxbridge.

The hosts went in at 71 for three on day two with Adam Voges on six
together with Max Holden, who had just got off the mark with a single
before rain took the players off for a second time in the morning
session.

Asked to bat first after an uncontested toss, Middlesex openers Sam
Robson and Nick Compton fared well in the opening exchanges to post 40
as Hampshire tended to bowl too short.

Fidel Edwards then switched to the Pavilion End to rush one past
Compton’s back-foot push and rearrange middle and off stumps with a
slingy, full-length delivery that seamed off the pitch.

Only 18 runs on and with 28 to his name, Robson – who had just moved
past the 8,000-run milestone in first-class cricket -also returned to
the pavilion after edging low to Jimmy Adams at second slip off the
bowling of Ian Holland.

The hosts lost their third wicket of the session when Stevie Eskinazi
(13) feathered one from Edwards to be superbly caught diving low to
his right by keeper Tom Alsop, which proved the pre-cursor to a
10-minute break for rain.

The additional sheeting shipped across on Tuesday afternoon from
Merchant Taylors School in Northwood ensured the pitch and surrounds
stayed drier overnight which, together with the benefit of using heat
lamps on the wicket ends, allowed the second day to start on time
despite a previously sodden outfield that had led to the first-day
washout.

Hampshire skipper James Vince was forced to miss the game after
picking up a hamstring niggle in the warm-ups, which led to a
first-class debut for Hampshire Academy graduate Felix Organ, an
18-year-old off-spinner and right-hand batsman originally from Sydney,
Australia.

Middlesex also gave a county debut to batsman Holden, who spent the
start of the season on loan with Northamptonshire. Holden, was
presented with his first-team cap ahead of the game.

------------------------

DAY ONE - PLAY ABANDONED

MATCH REPORT PROVIDED BY ECB INDEPENDENT REPORTER NETWORK

The opening day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One
clash between reigning champions Middlesex and third-placed Hampshire
was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to unfit playing
conditions at Uxbridge Cricket Club.

Heavy rain on Monday evening ran down the slope at the Park Road
sports complex and crept under the covers and sheets leaving umpires
Graham Lloyd and Russell Evans with little option but to call things
off after their second inspection at 11am.

Groundstaff had used heat lamps and a 'Supersopper' from the early
hours in a bid to improve conditions but their efforts proved useless
in the face of sodden conditions and heavy waterlogging.

However, Richard Scott, the Middlesex head coach, remained phlegmatic
despite the loss of the entire opening day. He said: “We’re victims of
being on an outground at this time of year. The groundstaff have tried
their hardest to keep it dry over the past few days but we had
torrential rain here yesterday and the surrounds and parts of the
bowlers’ run-ups have got very wet.

“It’s frustrating, especially when you see other games going on around
the country, but we usually come here and the outfield is white and
we’ve got a rock-hard pitch. We’ll just have to bite the bullet today
then hopefully the rain stays away tonight and we’ll have a good go
tomorrow.”