Huge congratulations go to the Middlesex Over 50’s First Eleven, who yesterday defeated Nottinghamshire in the semi-final of the County Championship play-offs, earning themselves an opportunity to lift the Over 50’s County Championship trophy later this month in the final at Arundel.
At yesterday’s semi-final, played at Uxbridge’s Park Road ground, Middlesex skipper Mark Rochester won the toss and had no hesitation in asking Nottinghamshire to bat first, backing his bowling unit that had served him so well all season.
It proved to be a good decision, as two early wickets, one apiece from James Williams and Naeem Khan, immediately had the visitors on the back foot and in need of a partnership to stabilise their innings.
50 runs were added for the third wicket, although at a very sedate pace after the loss of those early wickets, before a Mehboob Elahi run out in the 23rd over was quickly followed by a caught and bowled by Robert Nelson in the 25th, with Notts only reaching 77 for 4 at the halfway stage of their innings.
The Notts number four, Darren Wright, and number six, Lee Wilson, then dug in and tried to rebuild the innings, almost doubling the score in the next fourteen overs, before the latter fell for 39, bowled by Kamlesh Desai, with Notts on 156 for 5 with just eleven overs of their innings remaining and time running out.
With Notts way under par, they needed to put their foot down, which merely resulted in the loss of further wickets, with Desai picking up a further pair to add to his earlier wicket, and Elahi getting his first, as Nottinghamshire stuttered to 190 for 8 in their fifty overs, which looked way below par against a strong Middlesex batting unit.
Desai’s figures of 3 for 36 from 9 overs were the standout figures from the Middlesex bowling attack.
In reply, the early loss of Elahi, for just 10, didn’t set Middlesex back, as his fellow opener Bajinder Mangat, and number three James Williams, added 93 for the second wicket in good time, to see Middlesex to 109 for 2 in just 24 overs, before Mangat fell for 43.
Needing only another 82 runs to win, Williams and number four Naseer Ahmed added 47 for the third wicket to reduce the deficit to just 35, before Ahmed fell for 31 with the score on 156 with over twenty overs remaining.
Middlesex got there at a canter, reaching their victory target of 191 in the 36th over, just three wickets down, with Williams finishing as Middlesex’s top-scorer, unbeaten on 76, with Fakir Dungaria unbeaten on 15.
Middlesex’s seven wicket victory sees them progress to the County Championship final, to be played at Arundel on Sunday 11th September in a game starting at 11am.
Their opponents at the final will be Essex Over 50’s, who are the only side to beat Middlesex this season, when the two sides met in the league stages of the competition in July, with Essex coming out on top by 62 runs at a clash played in Broxbourne.
To catch up on all the match details from Middlesex’s semi-final clash with Nottinghamshire, you can view the scorecard and all the stats HERE.
We wish Middlesex Over 50’s every success in the final in a fortnight’s time in Arundel.