Bob Willis Trophy: Middlesex complete three-day victory over Sussex

Bob Willis Trophy: Middlesex complete three-day victory over Sussex

Martin Andersson and John Simpson
Martin Andersson and John Simpson shared a match-winning partnership of 63
Bob Willis Trophy, Radlett Cricket Club (day three):
Sussex 293 & 102: Brown 45; Murtagh 5-34, Andersson 3-21
Middlesex 203 & 193-5: White 35, Simpson 32*; Robinson 4-54
Middlesex (20 pts) beat Sussex (5 pts) by five wickets

John Simpson and Martin Andersson emerged the heroes for Middlesex as they won a thrilling Bob Willis Trophy encounter against visitors Sussex by five wickets at Radlett.

The wicketkeeper and young all-rounder shared an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 63 to see the hosts to a winning target of 193 in the dying embers of a fluctuating day.

Ollie Robinson took 4-50, including a spell of 3-3 in 10 balls, and threatened to be the scourge of Middlesex once more, but they were left to rue dropping catches at slip to reprieve both Andersson (27 not out) and Simpson (32 not out) in the dramatic finale.

Earlier in the day, Middlesex stalwart Tim Murtagh (5-34) recorded his 37th five-wicket haul in first-class cricket as Sussex were hustled out for 102 in their second innings.

Andersson took 3-21 in the collapse, while Simpson held four catches behind the stumps.

Sussex began the day 33-4 in their second innings, a lead of 123, and not out batsmen skipper Ben Brown and Delray Rawlins rapidly increased the advantage with a flurry of early boundaries.

But Murtagh ended the revelry with one which stopped in the pitch causing Rawlins to lob the ball back to the bowler off the leading edge.

Murtagh completed his latest five-wicket haul soon afterwards when Tom Haines edged to Simpson and when Robinson was spectacularly caught by the wicketkeeper down the leg-side, Sussex were 74-7.

Brown’s nine fours ensured the visitors scraped their way past 100, but he was one of Andersson’s three victims while Miguel Cummins took 2-45.

Middlesex, needing 193 for victory had two overs to survive before lunch and knocked 17 off that total thanks to a fluent start from Max Holden.

The left-hander and fellow opener Sam Robson continued to accumulate after the break in contrasting fashions and their partnership was worth 48 when a game within a game began with Robinson the central character.

The seamer, whose career-best 8-34 came against Middlesex last season struck Robson near the boot with the former England man playing no shot.

The appeal was huge, but not answered in the affirmative, following which Robinson appeared to make a TV replay gesture. That provoked a meeting between the umpires and skipper Brown and Robinson were spoken to.

A no-ball, one of several from Robinson, only served to get him ticking all the more, and the third ball of his next over lifted on Holden, who appeared to glove it behind.

Nick Gubbins followed after also nicking through to Brown and although Stevie Eskinazi kept out the hat-trick ball Robinson produced a brute of a delivery in the next over which Robson could only fend to Tom Clark at third slip.

Robbie White joined Eskinazi and the two rebuilt either side of a tea interval brought forward by a rain delay, adding 73 before part-time medium pacer Haines made what looked a vital incision trapping White lbw for 35 with 63 still needed.

Before that wicket Robinson had looked weary, but revitalised he trapped Eskinazi (26) to raise Sussex’s hopes once more. It was the 44th wicket claimed by Robinson against the Seaxes in their last five meetings.

It could have proved decisive if Phil Salt had held on to a slip catch offered by Andersson when he’d made just nine, while Finch grassed another nick from Simpson with 25 needed, but Middlesex made it home.

Match report supplied by PA Media.

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