County Championship - 4 September 2018
Gloucestershire drew with Middlesex
Venue: Brightside Ground, Bristol
Gloucestershire v Middlesex
A second century of the summer by Miles Hammond stopped Middlesex having a realistic target to chase on the final day at the Brightside Ground as a hard fought game ended in a draw.
At lunch, an exciting finish still looked possible with Gloucestershire 221 ahead, but skipper Chris Dent didn't feel the balance of the declaration equation was right until more than an hour later and with the lead - with the help of a career best 123* from Miles Hammond - having ticked past 300.
When he called Hammond and David Payne in with Gloucestershire 251-8 in their second innings, it left Middlesex 40 overs to chase 306 to win, but after a frenetic start in which four wickets fell in the first seven overs Middlesex called off their pursuit and were 111-5 when both teams accepted the draw with nine overs of the final hour remaining.
Watch the post match reaction of Miles Hammond here :
Gloucestershire began the final day 141 runs ahead with four wickets down, and their hopes of dictating how the day unfolded were boosted by the absence of both James Harris and Tim Murtagh from the Middlesex team.
Murtagh finally took the field more than 40 minutes late because of tooth ache which necessitated a visit to the dentist, and didn't bowl until 25 minutes before lunch. When he dismissed Jack Taylor for a season's best Championship score of 43 just before the interval, Taylor had added 66 on the day with Miles Hammond, who was making relentless progress towards a carefully constructed hundred.
Deprived of two front line bowlers, Middlesex captain Dawid Malan was twirling away with his leg spin earlier than he might have expected, especially with the need to contain as well as take wickets. Hammond's fifty came up in 134 balls with four fours, and he went on to take 23 singles in a morning session where the quicker bowlers, James Fuller and Ethan Bamber, were tidy but offered little threat. The fact that Murtagh ended up bowling with fielders at short cover and short extra cover emphasised the placid nature of the pitch.
As the Gloucestershire score inched upwards, the balance of power slowly shifted with it, Hammond playing a switch hit for four off Malan and Jack Taylor striking a straight six down the ground towards the apartments before Murtagh induced an edge to 'keeper Eskinazi a quarter of an hour before lunch.
Eight overs remained until the second new ball when play resumed, and Hammond and Ryan Higgins pushed the lead towards 250 before a horrible mix up saw Higgins run out for 23. Having also been involved in Chris Dent's run out earlier in the innings, Hammond will have been relieved to reach his second Championship hundred, this one containing ten fours and made in more methodical style than his 103 against Sussex at Cheltenham.
At that stage the Middlesex target would have been 269, but it wasn't until another 37 runs had been added and 12 overs had elapsed that Chris Dent felt comfortable to call a halt. Hammond's 123 not out was a career best, and had occupied more than six hours of the match.
With Sussex and Kent having already won their games in this round, Middlesex had little option but to chase their victory target of 306 in 40 overs hard from ball one. Their batting order saw all their aggressive players pushed towards the top, and a crazy start ensued with the loss of three quick wickets.
A direct hit by James Bracey ran out Paul Stirling in the first over, Dawid Malan was well caught on the run by Jack Taylor at mid wicket off David Payne and Nick Gubbins was trapped lbw by Craig Miles. When Eoin Morgan clipped Payne to Ben Charlesworth in the first over after tea they were 29-4, so it was just as well that they had the insurance policy of specialist batsmen down the order in Sam Robson and Steven Eskinazi.
Robson and James Fuller - who switched from aggressor to defender when Morgan was out - stayed together for 13 overs until Fuller was lbw to Higgins, but with all hope of victory long gone, Eskinazi kept him company for the remainder of the day until the teams shook hands with nine overs left.
Gloucestershire take 9 points from the match, and head to Glamorgan on Monday in seventh place in the table with three matches remaining.
Losing two late wickets and 26 overs to bad light and drizzle changed the dynamic of Gloucestershire's Championship match with Middlesex at the Brightside Ground.
With a first innings lead of 54 runs and no interruptions in the morning sesssion, Gloucestershire looked well placed but a promising position was undone by three breaks in play due to the weather and some disciplined bowling which saw Tim Murtagh remove Benny Howell and Gareth Roderick in successive overs.
Gloucestershire will start the final day on 87-4 in their second innings, an overall lead of 141.
Earlier Middlesex had added 60 runs for their last three wickets, the bulk of them put together by the overnight pair of James Harris and Ethan Bamber. David Payne, who took 3-19 on the day, finished with 3-51 overall.
Watch head coach Richard Dawson's thought on the match position here :
Middlesex began the day 114 runs behind at 182-7, and Harris and Bamber played correctly and competently against the old ball for the first 11 overs to push Middlesex past 200 and earn them only their ninth batting point of the season.
There had been little to encourage Matt Taylor and Ben Charlesworth, and even with the second new ball David Payne and Ryan Higgins strove fruitlessly until after Bamber steered Higgins to third man to bring up the fifty partnership.
Gloucestershire were down to only one slip at this point, but David Payne didn't need one to finally remove Harris, who having made 35 spooned a leading edge back down the pitch to offer an easy return catch.
The remaining two wickets fell for the addition of only eight runs, James Fuller edging Payne to 'keeper Roderick and Tim Murtagh steering the same bowler to Bracey at point to leave Gloucestershire with a handy advantage.
Chris Dent and Miles Hammond saw out the two overs until lunch, but only three more were bowled at the resumption before the players had to go off for bad light as dark clouds enveloped the ground for the first time.
Play did not resume until after an early tea and with 13 overs lost, and in the seven overs possible before another interruption Dent was run out by a throw from Nick Gubbins after Miles Hammond worked Bamber to mid wicket. The skipper had committed himself to a second run and could not regain his ground.
The stop-start nature of such days does little to help the rhythm of the batting side, and while Miles Hammond appeared to adjust quickly when they re-appeared at 4 o'clock, he lost three partners at the other end before the players were once again heading for the pavilion.
James Bracey played inside the line of a ball from Fuller that hit off stump, and then Murtagh, having switched ends, picked up two quick wickets in identical fashion as both Howell and Roderick found Stirling and Malan respectively at mid wicket.
Hammond (43*) and Jack Taylor negotiated the final 11 overs to leave Gloucestershire 87-4 overnight, 141 ahead but with work still to do on the final day.
17 year old Ben Charlesworth added his name to the other young players who have made an impression with Gloucestershire this season by constructing a polished half century against Middlesex at the Brightside Ground.
18 not out overnight, the pupil from St Edward's School in Oxford made an unbeaten 77 in only his third first class match, reaching his fifty with a straight six off Dawid Malan.
He added 58 for the last wicket with Matt Taylor - a stand which took Gloucestershire's first innings total to 296 and broke the previous record for the tenth wicket against Middlesex - and then took 3-21 with the ball as Middlesex responded with 182-7, skipper Malan's dismissal for 62 in the penultimate over giving Matt Taylor his 100th first class wicket.
FIFTY : A fine moment for Ben Charlesworth, who hits Malan for 6 to bring up his maiden first class half century (136 balls, 3x4, 1x6). pic.twitter.com/NyqMD1KiuJ— Gloucestershire CCC (@Gloscricket) 5 September 2018
After the elation of taking the wicket that sealed last week's win over Leicestershire, it was Ben Charlesworth's batting which lit up the first part of the day as Gloucestershire looked to advance their overnight score of 208-7 in sunny conditions.
Displaying all the patience that has seen him twice score centuries at other levels of the game in recent weeks, Charlesworth was initially content to work the ball economically for singles and in the company of Craig Miles added 29 until just before the overs for bonus points had elapsed, when Miles (14) tried to hook Ethan Bamber only to find the hands of Max Holden at deep square leg.
The swift departure of David Payne was the signal for Charlesworth to shake off his patient persona and attack alongside tenth wicket partner Matt Taylor, using his feet to Dawid Malan's leg spin to hit him down the ground for four and then repeat the shot with greater elevation to reach a maiden first class fifty in the grand manner from 136 balls.
Dropped by Malan on 40 - a caught and bowled chance the Middlesex captain would have expected to hold - Charlesworth's repertoire of shots then expanded further, pulling Bamber through mid wicket before again impressing with a cleanly struck straight drive.
The last wicket pair had put on 58 when Taylor was lbw to James Harris, leaving Middlesex facing a total of 296, and it's believed (without hours scouring the archives) that Charlesworth's 77* is the first half century by a Gloucestershire player of his age for more than 70 years.
The Middlesex opening pair of Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins played out the two overs until lunch, and in the afternoon session Gloucestershire had to work hard for their wickets once Robson edged Miles to Roderick in the sixth over.
Gubbins and Steven Eskinazi proceeded cautiously as Gloucestershire captain Chris Dent rotated his four main bowlers, adding 47 until Gubbins looked none too pleased to be given out lbw to Higgins. His reaction suggested he thought the ball was missing leg stump, and no other partnership was as productive as Gloucestershire slowly chipped their way through the Middlesex batting.
Most of their progress came after tea, with Charlesworth again a central figure. Undeterred by having a strong appeal for lbw against Dawid Malan turned down just before the interval, he returned after tea to trap Eskinazi lbw for 45, and then in a shorter second spell sent back Max Holden - also lbw - and had Paul Stirling caught at mid wicket by Jack Taylor.
Middlesex were therefore grateful to Malan for his calmness whilst other struggled, including Eoin Morgan who had twice edged Matt Taylor to third man before seeing his stumps splattered as he failed to drop on a full length delivery.
Malan passed 10,000 first class runs with a cover drive off Ryan Higgins, and a pull off Matt Taylor took him to fifty from 101 balls with eight boundaries. His innings would have ticked past three hours had he survived until the close, but in his final over Matt Taylor found the edge and Roderick stooped low to a catch which was confirmed from square leg by umpire Graham Lloyd.
It left Middlesex 114 runs in arrears with three wickets left, a position from which Gloucestershire will hope to tactically drive the game on the third day.
More than four hours of hard graft from Chris Dent was the backbone of Gloucestershire's batting effort on the opening day of their Championship match with Middlesex at the Brightside Ground.
The Gloucestershire captain followed up his unbeaten double hundred against Leicestershire with an innings of 82 until he gently lobbed a catch to short mid wicket off Dawid Malan's first ball. The way he placed his hand on his head and dragged himself towards the pavilion spoke volumes.
Earlier in the day Dent and Miles Hammond had added 63 for the first wicket, but his departure was the first of three wickets that fell for 13 runs either side of tea. Thereafter Ryan Higgins and teenager Ben Charlesworth resisted for well over an hour until the former Middlesex all rounder fell to Harris for 24, leaving Gloucestershire 208-7 at stumps.
Watch Chris Dent's thoughts on the day's play here:
Gloucestershire retained the same side that beat Leicestershire on Saturday, and having looked at the pitch and the overhead conditions it was no surprise that Middlesex captain Dawid Malan decided to field first, although initially Tim Murtagh and James Harris drew little response in the air or off the wicket.
The Middlesex opening bowlers were met by watchful concentration from Dent and Hammond, and it took until the 16th over before Hammond collected the first boundary of the day through the covers off Ethan Bamber.
By this point James Fuller was also into the attack, and Chris Dent changed the tempo of the session with five fours in two overs all around the wicket off his former team mate.
Considering there had been a brief delay at the start because of the light, Gloucestershire would have been delighted to get to lunch at 63-0 only for Hammond (23) to play at a wide delivery from Fuller and Malan took the catch at fourth slip.
The wicket fell in the New Zealander's second spell, which was much more economical and also saw him account for James Bracey, who having made 17 was trapped lbw as he appeared to overbalance towards the off side.
Having left Ollie Rayner out of their XI, Middlesex's spin options were the more lightly used ones of skipper Malan, Max Holden and Paul Stirling, and the Irishman's one indifferent over saw Dent latch onto a leg side long hop and bring up his half century from 102 balls.
The captain had made more than half the Gloucestershire total when Benny Howell drove Harris down the ground to take the score into three figures but again a promising start was cut short, Robson taking a low catch at slip off Bamber as Howell tried to check his shot.
The willing Murtagh had sent down 13 overs without conceding a boundary when Roderick drove him pleasantly past mid off, and Dent moved into the seventies with a deft cut off Holden. The skies were now brighter than at any stage, but a good session was again spoiled by a wicket late on, Dent being undone by Malan's gentle leg spin and Gubbins gratefully taking the catch.
It left Gloucestershire in almost a mirror image of their position against Leicestershire in the previous match, but rather than be dismissed by the close as they were on that occasion, the seventh wicket pair of Ryan Higgins and Ben Charlesworth showed some some gritty resistance after Roderick (30) and Jack Taylor went within four balls of each other after tea.
Initially against Middlesex's occasional spinners and latterly Murtagh and Harris with the new ball, Higgins guided Charlesworth through his longest Championship innings to date, with one of the teenager's cover drives off Fuller being as good as any stroke played on the day.
Their stand occupied nearly 21 overs and added 34 valuable runs before Harris induced an edge from Higgins and Stirling took his second catch. Two other chances had gone to ground, and at 208-7 overnight, 250 might still be a more than useful score if Gloucestershire can achieve it on Wednesday morning.
Middlesex elected to bowl.
Christopher Dent | Miles Hammond | James Bracey | Gareth Roderick | Benny Howell | Ryan Higgins | Jack Taylor | Ben Charlesworth | Craig Miles | David Payne | Matthew Taylor |
Sam Robson | Nicholas Gubbins | Stephen Eskinazi | Dawid Malan | Eoin Morgan | Max Holden | Paul Stirling | James Harris | James Fuller | Ethan Bamber | Tim Murtagh |
|Match Drawn||Gloucestershire second innings|
|Middlesex second innings|
111 - 5
|Gloucestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Miles Hammond||Caught Dawid Malan Bowled James Fuller||23||106||82||4||0|
|Chris Dent||Caught Nick Gubbins Bowled Dawid Malan||82||246||174||11||0|
|James Bracey||L.B.W. James Fuller||3||35||33||0||0|
|Benny Howell||Caught Sam Robson Bowled Ethan Bamber||17||35||22||2||0|
|Gareth Roderick||Caught Sam Robson Bowled Ethan Bamber||30||95||81||4||0|
|Jack Taylor||Caught Paul Stirling Bowled James Harris||1||23||21||0||0|
|Ryan Higgins||Caught Paul Stirling Bowled James Harris||24||80||60||2||0|
|Ben Charlesworth||Not Out||77||205||161||7||1|
|Craig Miles||Caught Max Holden Bowled Ethan Bamber||14||80||58||2||0|
|David Payne||Caught Stevie Eskinazi Bowled Ethan Bamber||1||10||10||0||0|
|Matt Taylor||L.B.W. James Harris||17||41||26||3||0|
|Extras||0b 3lb 4nb 0p 0w||7|
Fall of wickets
|Middlesex First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Sam Robson||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Craig Miles||10||34||33||2||0|
|Nick Gubbins||L.B.W. Ryan Higgins||25||105||74||2||0|
|Stevie Eskinazi||L.B.W. Ben Charlesworth||45||138||97||7||0|
|Dawid Malan||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Matt Taylor||62||179||122||9||0|
|Eoin Morgan||Bowled Matt Taylor||16||23||10||4||0|
|Max Holden||L.B.W. Ben Charlesworth||9||38||42||1||0|
|Paul Stirling||Caught Jack Taylor Bowled Ben Charlesworth||4||19||14||1||0|
|James Harris||Caught and Bowled David Payne||35||127||84||3||0|
|Ethan Bamber||Not Out||27||114||96||3||0|
|James Fuller||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled David Payne||3||9||6||0||0|
|Tim Murtagh||Caught James Bracey Bowled David Payne||0||6||3||0||0|
|Extras||0b 0lb 4nb 0p 2w||6|
Fall of wickets
|Gloucestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Chris Dent||Run Out Nick Gubbins||3||39||33||0||0|
|Miles Hammond||Not Out||123||365||268||11||0|
|James Bracey||Bowled James Fuller||15||53||40||1||0|
|Benny Howell||Caught Paul Stirling Bowled Tim Murtagh||1||16||11||0||0|
|Gareth Roderick||Caught Dawid Malan Bowled Tim Murtagh||6||9||6||1||0|
|Jack Taylor||Caught Stevie Eskinazi Bowled Tim Murtagh||43||155||134||4||1|
|Ryan Higgins||Run Out James Fuller||23||32||26||3||0|
|Ben Charlesworth||Caught James Fuller Bowled Dawid Malan||10||14||12||1||0|
|Craig Miles||Caught Stevie Eskinazi Bowled James Fuller||9||22||11||1||0|
|David Payne||Not Out||8||27||25||0||0|
|Extras||4b 2lb 4nb 0p 0w||10|
Fall of wickets
|Middlesex Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Paul Stirling||Run Out James Bracey||3||4||1||0||0|
|Nick Gubbins||L.B.W. Craig Miles||5||15||7||1||0|
|Dawid Malan||Caught Jack Taylor Bowled David Payne||10||9||11||2||0|
|Eoin Morgan||Caught Ben Charlesworth Bowled David Payne||6||18||9||1||0|
|James Fuller||L.B.W. Ryan Higgins||16||66||47||1||0|
|Sam Robson||Not Out||41||92||77||7||0|
|Stevie Eskinazi||Not Out||20||41||35||2||0|
|Extras||5b 2lb 2nb 0p 1w||10|
Fall of wickets