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Category: Middlesex

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County cricket: Lancashire v Yorkshire, Middlesex v Surrey – live!

11.50am BST

Mason Crane took the catch!

11.49am BST

Wicket! At Chelmsford. Fidel Edwards gets Browne. Caught at midwicket, which sounds a bit careless. They’re not even an over in!

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County cricket: Lancashire v Yorkshire, Middlesex v Surrey – live!

11.50am BST

Mason Crane took the catch!

11.49am BST

Wicket! At Chelmsford. Fidel Edwards gets Browne. Caught at midwicket, which sounds a bit careless. They’re not even an over in!

Continue reading…

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James Vince makes Hampshire history with 178 but Glamorgan stun hosts

• Worcestershire beat Warwickshire despite century from Ian Bell
• Alastair Cook in the runs again for Essex as they see off Middlesex

James Vince scored Hampshire’s highest ever List A score but Colin Ingram and Chris Cooke pulled off a stunning run-chase to steal a three-wicket Royal London One-Day Cup victory for Glamorgan. The captain Vince struck a career-best 178 off 138 balls at the Ageas Bowl, including 18 fours and five sixes, to beat Gordon Greenidge’s previous best of 177 in 1975. Vince was eventually bowled by Marchant de Lange – one of the South African’s five wickets – as Hampshire posted 332 for six after losing the toss. But Ingram then crashed 115 off 78 deliveries before Cooke got the hosts over the line at the death with an unbeaten 59 from 27 balls.

Adam Hose hit his maiden Somerset century as the South Group leaders made it five wins from six matches with an 81-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over Gloucestershire in a match reduced to 46 overs per side. Hose’s unbeaten 101 and 90 from Jim Allenby helped the visitors make 294 for six at Bristol. Needing 297 to win under the Duckworth-Lewis method, Gloucestershire offered some resistance through Jack Taylor’s 68 and 33 from George Hankins but they could only manage 215 all out.

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County cricket talking points: the schedule for the season is daft

Just as momentum and interest were building, the County Championship season took a break – and missed out on big crowds over the bank holiday

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Just when the County Championship narrative began to build with a logjam at the top of Division One, with Gary Ballance and Darren Stevens adding personal stories to colour the picture, cricket shifts to its white ball format – of course it does. At least the Royal London One-Day Cup got off to a spectacular start with an early contender for innings of the season. After Ben Foakes’s 92 had lifted Surrey to a competitive 290, Somerset collapsed to 22-5, the swing of Jade Dernbach (remember him?) and Sam Curran too much for the experienced top order. Dean Elgar – a very classy operator these days – was joined by fellow South African, Roelof van der Merwe and the long reconstruction job began. While the Test man dug in, the all-rounder chanced his arm and the runs kept coming, but the wickets didn’t. Elgar departed with the stand worth 213, but Van der Merwe only walked off when the job was done, his share 165.

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County cricket talking points: early form suggests we are in for a cracking season

Five of the eight teams in Division One have won one of their three matches so far. With teams taking points off each other, we may see another final-day thriller

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Five of Division One’s eight teams have “played three, won one” in what is shaping up to be a tight race for the pennant after last year’s final-day thriller. Surrey lead due to bonus points, having run into a Warwickshire side displaying more backbone that has hitherto been discernible this season. After Ian Westwood’s first dig of the season saw him anchor a competitive total of 332, the home side looked on as Mark Stoneman and Kumar Sangakkara made centuries to secure a handy lead of 105 for Surrey. But Warwickshire were in no mood to capitulate and, building on the morale fostered by taking the last five wickets for 43 runs, Ian Bell’s men batted out 123 overs for the draw, the captain making 99, Tim Ambrose 85 and the always admirable Keith Barker adding 70*. It’s a start for Warwickshire, but Surrey will worry that without Mark Footitt’s cutting edge – he was hampered by injury and out of sorts on the fourth day – they lack the firepower required to turn draws into wins.

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County cricket roundup: Ryan McLaren sparks Lancashire comeback

• Heroics with bat and ball help secure stunning victory over Somerset
• Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire against Hampshire with twin centuries

Lancashire skittled Somerset to pull off a remarkable heist at Old Trafford, having been dismissed for 109 on the first day and after conceding a 169-run first‑innings deficit.

Lancashire’s grizzled, unglamorous overseas pro, Ryan McLaren – who balances their side from No7 and offers a steady first change option – was the star of the fourth day. His eighth-wicket stand of 77, which began on the third evening, with Stephen Parry built on Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone’s extraordinary partnership of 245, to haul Lancashire to 463 and set Somerset 295 in 77 overs.

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County cricket round-up: Alastair Cook’s return powers Essex past Somerset

• Cook hits century in first match since resigning England captaincy
• Yorkshire’s Ben Coad takes 10 wickets against Warwickshire

Essex and Alastair Cook are back, and mean business. In his first competitive match since resigning the England captaincy in February, Cook’s 110 – his 57th first-class century – provided the backbone of Essex’s remarkable chase of 255 against Somerset at Taunton, their first win since returning to the top flight after a six-summer absence. For Somerset, runners-up last year and brimming with youthful, local talent, this represented a disappointing start to a season they are highly fancied for.

Cook’s was an untroubled, unfussy innings in a cruise of a chase, a surprise given 18 wickets had fallen on the second day. All it took, it turned out, was some better batting, because the surface – unlike last season – offered no great help to bowlers, fast or slow. Having brought up his century with a nudged 202nd ball to leg for four, Cook fell before tea, heaving Dean Elgar to midwicket but an authoritative chase was just 39 from completion.

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Hampshire’s Michael Carberry leads by composed example against Middlesex

• Middlesex 356; Hampshire 209-4
• Michael Carberry’s unbeaten 84 gives hosts promising foundation

Hampshire are a team short on public goodwill. They are packed with non-English qualified players, and cannot find space for two exciting prospects, Mason Crane and Tom Alsop, while they were also the slightly noisy beneficiaries of Durham’s divisional demotion. But there is one regard in which Hampshire success is supremely popular: runs, by the bucketload, for Michael Carberry.

By reaching stumps unbeaten on 84, weathering the champions Middlesex’s formidable attack, Carberry is in sight of his 36th first-class century, and has carved a strong position for his team too. This is the backbone that was so badly missed when he was absent undergoing treatment for a cancerous tumour in the second half of last summer. This is an ordeal about which he has not spoken publicly but from which he has returned brilliantly; he made a century against Cardiff MCCU, and his 41 set the tone for Hampshire’s surprise chase of more than 300 in their opening win over Yorkshire.

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Leicestershire docked 16 points on eve of new County Championship season

• Punishment relates to incident involving bowler Charlie Shreck
• County also fined £5,000 after match against Loughborough University

Leicestershire will start their County Championship campaign on minus 16 points and with their captain, Mark Cosgrove, banned for one match after they were dramatically punished on the eve of the new season following an incident last week against Loughborough University involving their seam bowler Charlie Shreck.

The club’s punishment, which also includes a £5,000 fine and a further eight points suspended for one year, was handed down for chalking up five such incidents in the space of 12 months. They now become the second side in Division Two to start the summer with a deficit against their name after Durham were relegated for financial reasons last October and docked 48 points.

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County Championship 2017: Divisions One and Two – team-by-team guide

Surrey’s signings make them a good bet for the title, though Middlesex and Somerset should challenge again while Sussex have solid promotion credentials Continue reading…

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Steve Finn: ‘Fundamentally I don’t think I’m a nice guy when I bowl’

Middlesex and England quick readily admits he has plenty on his plate as he contemplates his 13th first-class season

Steve Finn knows spring has sprung because of the line of questioning he is facing. “Every year for eight years I reckon, answering the same ones,” he says. “Is this my most important year yet? Is this my year?” The laughter he produces is a tad tired.

Finn is a cricketer for whom the years are passing without our noticing – he has taken to describing himself as “long in the tooth”. Embarking on his 13th season as a first-class player, seven years from his Test debut, and turning 28 next week, he understands exactly why this annual ritual takes place, although that does not make him any more likely to rise to the bait. “It comes with the territory,” he says, another answer he has clearly had practice delivering. “International cricketers are in the limelight more than others. I accept that fully.”

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FCC podcast: Ollie Rayner reflects on Middlesex’s title win – and celebrations

In the last few months Ollie Rayner has gone from waiting for a contract offer to winning a championship, celebrating in style, signing a new deal and visiting Buckingham Palace. He explains all in this episode of the FCC podcast

By Will and Vish, for Freelance Cricket Club, part of the Guardian Sport Network

With England spending their winter in Bangladesh and India, spin is a hot topic. The English spin bowling cupboard, it seems, has been bare since the retirement of Graeme Swann and the fading of Monty Panesar. So this week we caught up with Ollie Rayner, the Middlesex – and now England Lions – off-spinner who enjoyed something of a renaissance this summer, picking up 50 wickets for the first time as his team won the title in memorable fashion.

Rayner has enjoyed an interesting career across two counties – including being called for chucking – and he’s a man with a healthy perspective on the game. Just four months ago he was awaiting the offer of a new contract and nervously preparing for life after cricket: it’s been one hell of a year for him.

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ECB’s T20 plans risk ruining County Championship’s domestic drama | Vic Marks

Middlesex’s title win was so exciting because it really mattered – that must not be diminished by another T20 competition

Suddenly county cricket is sexy. The melodrama of the last round of matches was agony for the committed, fascinating for the neutral and it even captured a fresh audience, which will please everyone at the England and Wales Cricket Board since they keep stressing this goal (rather than their eagerness to generate some more quick cash). Taken in isolation the Middlesex-Yorkshire match at Lord’s was often a turgid affair on a dull surface. Yet it was mesmerising as the visitors eked out the last few runs to take them to 350; as Nick Gubbins rose to the occasion as impressively as the doughty old veteran Tim Bresnan; as we glimpsed the fevered negotiations going on in the old pavilion on the last afternoon and as Toby Roland-Jones produced his stunning, title-deciding hat-trick.

Why was it all so mesmerising? Because for some unfathomable reason which may have something to do with more than 120 years of Championship cricket, it seemed to matter so much. Without any doubt it mattered a great deal to the players and supporters of the three sides in contention for the title on the last afternoon of the season and the same applied in the relegation tussles that were going on at the same time around the country.

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Toby Roland-Jones hat-trick seals Middlesex’s title against Yorkshire

• Middlesex 270 & 359-6 dec; Yorkshire 390 & 178. Middlesex win by 61 runs
• Middlesex dethrone Yorkshire and pip Somerset to title in dramatic finale

Middlesex, the Middle Saxons, are the county champions. A day of high tension at Lord’s ended with James Franklin’s side beating a gallant Yorkshire team by 61 runs, with 28 balls to spare. Albeit with a contrived declaration, Franklin had set Yorkshire 240 to win in 40 overs, in the knowledge that they had no option but to pursue the target to the end and, if there was an agreement that they would do so come what may, having been given a chance, then it was not one on which they reneged.

Related: Middlesex pip Yorkshire and Somerset to title after thrilling finale at Lord’s

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Middlesex pip Yorkshire and Somerset to title in thrilling finale at Lord’s

• Toby Roland-Jones seals Championship at Lord’s with stunning hat-trick
• ‘I honestly didn’t realise it was a hat-trick. It was just a blur at the end’

Toby Roland-Jones spoke of an unbelievable feeling after his stunning hat-trick completed a rollercoaster final-day victory over Yorkshire that meant Middlesex claimed their first County Championship for 23 years and denied both their opponents and Somerset the crown.

Related: Toby Roland-Jones hat-trick seals Middlesex’s title against Yorkshire

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Yorkshire stay in title hunt as county season reaches three-cornered climax

• Tim Bresnan century earns vital bonus point for defending champions
• Middlesex and Somerset can also still win County Championship

The final day of the county season will now go down to the wire with Middlesex and Yorkshire both hunting victory at Lord’s in order to claim the title and deny Somerset, who defeated Nottinghamshire inside three days at Taunton, a first championship in their history.

By the close on day three Middlesex had reached 81 for two in their second innings but are trailing by 39 runs after the visitors had made 390 through a stunning unbeaten 142 from Tim Bresnan. That rescued his side from 53 for four at one stage and, crucially, gave them the fourth bonus batting point they required to remain in the race for the top spot.

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Tim Bresnan helps keep Yorkshire’s title hopes alive against Middlesex

• Middlesex 270 & 81-2 v Yorkshire 390
• Bresnan’s century off 222 balls helped Yorkshire to four batting bonus points

It was the equinox and the autumnal shadows were already stretching out across the Lord’s turf when the Yorkshire team took the field and began their charge towards what they hoped on the final day of the season, would be the County Championship title for the third year in a row.

A colossal innings of immense character from Tim Bresnan and lower‑order defiance first from Azeem Rafiq and then the old warhorse Ryan Sidebottom saw Yorkshire to the fourth batting point they needed to ensure they remained in the race, and then, with what proved to be a 56-run last-wicket partnership, beyond to a lead of 120.

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Tim Bresnan keeps all options open for a battling Yorkshire at Middlesex

• Middlesex 270 | Yorkshire 235-6
• Yorkshire’s No5 is undefeated on 72 after taking three for 48

There is something of the Black Knight in this Yorkshire team. Vital limbs have been hacked off but they are still out there battling away optimistically. Whether or not their championship title hopes remain alive however, the third day of what is proving an absorbing finale to the season will show.

Events at Taunton, which, barring flood,plague or pestilence will surely culminate in a Somerset victory against Nottinghamshire, mean that even to stand an outside chance of sneaking home at the head of the pile they will need to score a minimum of 350 in their first innings and then go on to win the game.

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Yorkshire play Lord’s cliffhanger the hard way to leave faithful gripped | Andy Bull

Ryan Sidebottom’s thrift at one end allowed Jack Brooks to cut loose at the other but the champions could rue some poor fielding against Middlesex

Late September, the very butt end of the season. In London it was a soupy sort of day, the sky a uniform grey and the atmosphere, in the morning at least, still thick with the lingering humidity of last week’s Indian summer, leaving the city’s commuters facing the dilemma of whether or not to pack an umbrella. If this morning was meant for anything, it was bowling first.

Related: Middlesex rally against sloppy Yorkshire as Nick Gubbins hits unbeaten 120

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Middlesex rally against sloppy Yorkshire as Nick Gubbins hits unbeaten 120

• Middlesex 208-5 v Yorkshire
• Opener Gubbins bats for five and a half hours before bad light stops play

We expected it to be gritty and gritty it was. Grittier than the Snake Pass on an icy midwinter morning, or an egg sandwich on a windblown beach. Nick Gubbins was so gritty that come the close of play he would have needed a couple of hours sluicing with cold water like newly gathered Brancaster mussels.

Related: County cricket: Middlesex v Yorkshire, Somerset v Notts, and more – as it happened

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