MATCH ONE RESULT - ESSEX WIN BY 18 RUNS
Max Holden’s magnificent century was not enough to secure a Middlesex victory in the first game of their second XI T20 double header against Essex at Radlett.
Holden amassed 112 from just 51 deliveries, striking the ball cleanly and peppering the boundaries, as the home side fell 18 runs short of Essex’s total of 240-7.
Middlesex won the toss and put the visitors in, a decision which paid immediate dividends as Holden (3-38) took a return catch to remove Nick Browne (1) in the first over.
But Paul Walter (71) and Michael Pepper (42) cut loose in the powerplay and put on 121 for the second wicket before Middlesex managed to remove the pair in successive deliveries.
Pepper was bowled when he swung and missed at Ollie Rayner (3-29) and Walter fell to an excellent diving catch by Chris Scott, top-edging the first ball of the next over to deep square-leg.
Rayner struck twice more to stem the flow of runs but Rishi Patel’s knock of 46 from 20 balls helped lift Essex to 240-7 from their 20 overs.
Holden appeared unfazed by the required rate of just above 12 an over and immediately climbed into the Essex bowling, dominating his first-wicket partnership of 56 with Tom Lace.
The stand was broken when Lace (6) was caught at cover, but Holden continued in the same vein, dispatching Aaron Beard to the boundary four times in the same over.
Martin Andersson (29) provided solid support in a second-wicket partnership of 70 before he and George Scott (4) fell in the same over – and from then on the home side began to struggle.
Holden passed his ton with a crisp off-drive for four but he was eventually caught on the boundary by Matt Dixon and the innings drifted as Middlesex finished on 222-8.
MATCH TWO RESULT - MIDDLESEX WIN BY 7 WICKETS
In the second match of the day, Middlesex won the toss and decided to put Essex in to bat first.
Essex were not able to score with similar regularity the second time around however, in large part due to Middlesex taking wickets at regular intervals.
By the time a stunning catch from Tom Lace had removed Patel for just 3, Essex’s innings was faltering on 65-4.
Middlesex were able to take all ten wickets with just one ball to spare, and would have been impressed to have restricted Essex to 150 all out.
All bowlers played their part, with Harris leading the way with figures of 3-36. Holden, Walallawita and Rayner all took a further 2 each, with Barber taking the other.
Tom Lace and Max Holden went about dispatching the Essex bowlers from the off, and had already brought up the 50 partnership by the time Lace departed in the 6th over.
This had set the tone for the innings, and despite Holden and Andersson both departing by the end of the 13th over, Middlesex always looked comfortable to get over the line.
An unbeaten 50 from George Scott helped to guide Middlesex past Essex’s total in the 17th over, meaning the two teams shared the spoils on the day with one win each.