Simpson and Sterling rescue Middlesex on opening day of season. 15th April 2018
13th APRIL 2018
MIDDLESEX 136-4 NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Specsavers County Championship Day 1 Friday 13th April 2018
Peter Moore at Lords
Middlesex were rescued by an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 73 between John Simpson and Paul Stirling on the opening day of the County Cricket Season, at a truncated day at Lords.
Middlesex began life back in Division Two with an opening home County Championship match against Northamptonshire at the home of cricket. The hosts went into the game missing Stevie Eskinazi, due to illness.
On a grey morning in London with the floodlights on, unsurprisingly there was an uncontested toss with Middlesex batting. Openers Sam Robson and Max Holden- who spent a large chunk at Northamptonshire last season on a successful loan spell- opened the batting for the hosts. Northamptonshire opened up with Ben Sanderson and New Zealander quick bowler Doug Bracewell, with an attacking field of three slips and a gully.
Middlesex survived a shade over thirty minutes before disaster struck for the hosts when they lost two wickets in successive balls. Holden was the first to be dismissed when he poked at a ball outside off stump and was caught at third slip of Ben Sanderson. Robert White – on his Championship debut- made his way to the middle and was soon making his way back to the pavilion after not playing a shot first ball. Recently signed Australian Hilton Cartwright survived the hat-trick ball, but Middlesex found themselves in trouble with the scoreboard reading 21-2. The Australian’s approach was for some swift counter attacking which produced 30 runs, until he was undone by a slower ball from Ben Hutton- on his championship debut for the county- that saw his leg stump removed. Hutton bagged the wicket of Robson lbw for 14 just before lunch in helpful seaming conditions as Middlesex struggled in the opening session to be 64-4.
The afternoon session was cut short due to bad light at 2.55 with an early tea taken. During the shortened session Middlesex in the shape of John Simpson and Paul Sterling had recovered to 132-4 with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 69, with Stirling on 36 and Simpson 31, who had an earlier life when he was dropped at fine leg by Sanderson when he was on three.
After a delay of over two and a half hours for bad light, play recommenced at 5.40 with a maximum of 21 overs left in the day. Just 23 further deliveries were bowled when after further discussions the umpires decided the light had deteriated with Middlesex closing on 136-4 thanks to an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 73 between Stirling 40* and Simpson 31*, rescuing the hosts from 63 for 4.