Adams Fifty Can't Secure Hampshire Draw At Middlesex

Read the match report for Hampshire's Specsavers County Championship clash with Middlesex at Merchant Taylors' School in May 2016

Day One:

James Tomlinson (1-33) and Tino Best (1-69) reduced Middlesex to 14/2 on day one of Joe Weatherley's Specsavers County Championship debut, before home skipper Adam Voges (128*) and batsman Dawid Malan (147*) produced a 279-run partnership to reach 342/3 at Merchant Taylors.

Best opened the bowling terrifically for Hampshire – taking one wicket and three maidens from his first six overs – and when he found an edge from Sam Robson (2), the visitors looked set to dominate the contest.

Liam Dawson (1-67) crucially dismissed Malan in the final session of day one, after he and Voges had both reached their tons during a formidable afternoon from the home batsmen.

Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat first, which initially appeared to have worked against them when Tomlinson dismissed Nick Gubbins (4) - who edged behind to Smith - to reduce Middlesex to 6/1 and Best found an edge from Robson, Jimmy Adams’ catch leaving the home side on 14/2.

A stubborn partnership between their replacements, Malan and skipper Voges, recovered the early blows and took Middlesex to 216/2 at tea.  

Hampshire opted for spin, as Mason Crane and Dawson were introduced by stand-in skipper Will Smith, in order to end a 200-run partnership – the breakthrough would eventually come through Dawson.

The experienced Hants spinner provided the first wicket of the afternoon, Malan edging to Ervine in the slips when he had been approaching 150 at a fierce rate - Malan and Voges were centurions though by the time of the former’s dismissal.  

Middlesex wicket-keeper batsman John Simpson (28*) settled at the crease in the final session, and helped take the home side to 342/3 at stumps on day one, with Voges looking likely to achieve what Malan narrowly missed out on - a knock of 150.ed to be more prolific with the ball on day two if they are to continue their excellent record at Merchant Taylors, with Middlesex accumulating a formidable total.  

Day Two:

Tim Murtagh took 4 for 33 to spearhead an impressive Middlesex bowling performance and leave Hampshire facing an uphill task to salvage a positive result at stumps on day two of the Specsavers County Championship match at Merchant Taylors’ School.

Tumbled out for 131 in reply to Middlesex’s 467 for 3 declared, Hampshire then slid to 62 for 3 when forced to follow on with Murtagh immediately picking up another wicket and James Fuller taking 2 for 24.

Sean Ervine was Hampshire’s first innings top scorer with just 31 as Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones, who flattened the tail to finish with 4 for 49, ran amok under grey skies in north-west London.

Hampshire’s second innings began with Murtagh removing Will Smith with the second ball of the opening over, caught at the wicket, and Fuller then had Michael Carberry well held at second slip for 21 before clean bowling Ervine for 1.

It was hard to fathom, as the wickets tumbled, that earlier in the day Middlesex had declared their own first innings on such an imposing total after thumping a further 125 runs in just 80 minutes after resuming on 342 for 3 with John Simpson rushing to 100 not out and Adam Voges ending up with an unbeaten 160.

Initially, Murtagh took 3 for 17 in 12 overs either side of lunch to fatally undermine Hampshire’s reply and both Fuller and Ollie Rayner chipped in with wickets before Murtagh returned to wrap up the innings in tandem with a hostile Roland-Jones.

Fuller picked up a first championship wicket for Middlesex when he had Liam Dawson brilliantly caught for 21 by Sam Robson diving to his left at gully, in his sixth over.

And, just before tea, off spinner Rayner had 19-year-old Joe Weatherley caught off bat and pad for 4 on his championship debut, leaving Ervine and Adam Wheater to offer the only remaining resistance as the decline continued in the final session.

In seven overs’ batting before lunch, Hampshire lost Carberry for 4 to a catch at the wicket off Murtagh, and both the veteran seamer and his new ball partner, Roland-Jones, beat the bat regularly.

Both Smith and Adams fell to the metronomic Murtagh after the interval. Smith, on 12, edged to third slip while Adams was bowled for 19.

Roland-Jones had just been driven imperiously to the extra cover boundary by Wheater when the Hampshire keeper edged him behind on 22 and Murtagh ended Ervine’s resistance by finding another thin edge.

Tino Best hit his first ball to mid on and Roland-Jones was on a hat-trick when Mason Crane edged to first slip. Last man James Tomlinson kept that ball out, but was powerless to do anything but fend a vicious lifter to third slip as Roland-Jones wrapped up the innings in merciless fashion.

How different batting seemed at the start of day two when Simpson played with freedom and flair to complete the fifth first-class hundred of his career as he and Voges took their unbroken fourth wicket partnership to 174.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Simpson, on 28 overnight, sprinted to three figures with three sixes and 13 fours and scored 72 from 61 balls this morning. Voges, who resumed on 128 and batted in all for 315 balls, hitting 15 fours, immediately declared once Simpson went to his hundred with a pull for four off Tomlinson.

Day Three:

Just 17 overs of play were possible on the third day of Middlesex’s Championship match with Hampshire at Merchant Taylor’s School due to a combination of rain and bad light. The entire first two sessions were washed out, with play only getting underway at 4pm. 65 minutes later, the players were off again, with the light having worsened.

Middlesex, with captain Adam Voges limited in which bowling options he could use due to the murky light, took one of the seven Hampshire wickets they require for victory, with Liam Dawson gloving a lifter from Tim Murtagh to gully, where Sam Robson took a fine low catch. Murtagh, as ever, made a habit of beating the outside edge as Voges kept plenty of fielders behind the wick.

Former Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams weathered a testing spell from Murtagh and James Franklin - the only seamers available to Voges with Toby Roland-Jones and James Fuller too quick for the light, looking in good touch to moving to 48. Adams played some fine drives off the seamers and cuts off spinners Ollie Rayner and Paul Stirling as the light deteriorated, men gathered round the bat and the ball began to spit.

Day Four:

Jimmy Adams' (78) highest score of the season helped Hampshire end positively at Merchant Taylors' School, but it couldn't prevent a heavy deafeat to Middlesex, who won by an innings and 116 runs in their Specsavers County Championship match. 

Rain continued to affect the contest on day four, but not enough to help the visitors to secure a draw at Northwood, as Ryan McLaren resiliently finished with an unbeaten 33 with Hants 220 all-out in their second innings. 

Middlesex had proven too strong with the bat on the opening day, and James Fuller devastatingly took 5-71 on the final day to effectively seal the home side's first Championship win of the season.

A gloomy final day in London began brightly for Hampshire, as Adams reached his fifty, building a composed innings alongside Joe Weatherley (9), who was hoping to make an impact on a challenging County Championship debut.

Weatherley was bowled by Toby Roland-Jones though – the Middlesex bowler taking his fifth wicket of the match (1-39) – as Hampshire were dealt a blow to their chances of salvaging a draw from a game the home side had truly dominated. 

Adams, going well on 78, was trapped at lbw by James Franklin (1-42), and when his replacement Adam Wheater (25) was caught in the slips by Adam Voges for 162/7, Middlesex were closing in on victory.

After a brief spell of rain delayed proceedings - Hampshire 162/7 - Fuller clinched his five-for by dismissing Tino Best (0) and then Mason Crane (21), who had looked determined to surpass his highest first-class score of 24. 

McLaren (33*) made Middlesex wait for victory, as he and James Tomlinson (2) took Hampshire to 220 with a defiant final wicket stand of 18, before Ollie Rayner (1-14) secured victory for the home side, by an innings and 116 runs.  

Hampshire picked up a single bonus point but, due to their over-rate of -2, lost two points. 

Hampshire will look to bounce back in the Specsavers County Championship when they take on Somerset at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday 26th June.