Middlesex v Derbyshire at Lord’s on 17th, 18th and 19th April: LV=County Championship Division 1
By John Brown
Derbyshire were buoyed by the excitement of their visit to the Home of Cricket for this four-day LV= County Championship match. Middlesex won the toss and elected to field first and they would quickly get their reward as skipper Wayne Madsen was run out by a direct hit by former Captain Chris Rogers before he had scored.
Wes Durston joined Billy Godleman and they were made to work hard by some accurate seam bowling, but they were still together at lunch taken at 59-1. It was an intriguing battle although it did not make for exciting watching.
Eventually Durston fell for 48 (103 balls) after sharing a stand of 83 for the second wicket. Shivnarine Chanderpaul started in what seems to be his customary style of watchful self-denial, but after he had faced 60 balls he miscued a half-hearted pull to mid-wicket.
There followed another all too familiar mid-order collapse to leave Derbyshire on 150 for six. Godleman stood firm while others fell around him, but then three more wickets fell while only one run was added. Godleman had made his first fifty for his new county – he had received 260 balls and hit only one boundary - when he was adjudged lbw and the score was 181-9.
Derbyshire’s last pair of Tim Groenewald and Mark Turner played more freely than any of their predecessors and they shared in the second last-wicket stand of fifty in successive innings for the county. Even so 231 all out by 11.45 on the second morning was far short of what Derbyshire would have hoped for, and it seemed unlikely to present Middlesex with much of a challenge.
In reply, Rogers was dropped at slip, but he was soon dismissed by Groenewald after which Robson dropped anchor and helped to take Middlesex to 66-1 by lunch. Forty minutes after the interval there was heavy rain with thunder and hail, but the ground recovered quickly to allow only twenty-two overs to be lost from the day’s allocation.
Derbyshire’s bowlers excelled themselves and reduced Middlesex to 140-6, but the seventh wicket pair of Gareth Berg and Ollie Rayner survived, with some luck, until the close with the score on 180-6.
It looked like being a tight, hard-fought game and Derbyshire hopes were raised when Middlesex’s last four wickets fell while another 35 runs were added. Jon Clare and Turner were the chief wicket-takers with two apiece.
With a first innings lead of 16, Derbyshire had 54 minutes batting before lunch, but they lost three wickets for 20 runs. Tim Murtagh had an inspired spell of swing bowling and he continued after lunch to complete a spell of 5-12 in 12 overs.
With the score on 26-6, Derbyshire were in real trouble, but Chanderpaul and Tom Poynton looked to be pulling things round with a stand of 31. Poynton was seventh out at 57, and only three more runs were added before Roland-Jones finished the innings with a hat-trick.
Despite the fact that Middlesex seemed to have the use of a ball which swung more than any other used in the match, an all-out score of 60 fell far short of the standards which Derbyshire would have expected of themselves. It was the lowest total made by Derbyshire in all matches against Middlesex, two fewer than the previous lowest made at Lord’s in 1978.
Middlesex had 44 overs left on the third evening in which to score the 77 runs they needed and, despite the loss of Robson to Tony Palladino’s first ball – the fifth player to be dismissed first ball in the match – Middlesex had little difficulty in reaching their target to win by nine wickets.
It was a disappointing, demoralising result, but one which will make Derbyshire realise that nothing less than their very best in all sessions will allow them to be as competitive as they would hope.
Derbyshire 231 (104.5 overs) (BA Godleman 55, WJ Durston 48, TD Groenewald 25, ML Turner 22*; ST Finn 4 for 51, TJ Murtagh 2 for 68)
60 (35 overs) (S Chanderpaul 18*; TJ Murtagh 5 for 12, TS Roland-Jones 3 for 4, ST Finn 2 for 34)
Middlesex 215 (77.4 overs) (SD Robson 68, GK Berg 42*, JL Denly 34, OP Rayner 26; JL Clare 4 for 40, ML Turner 3 for 51)
80-1 (21.4 overs) (JL Denly 44*, CJL Rogers 28*)
Middlesex (20 points) beat Derbyshire (4 points) by 9 wickets
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