Derbyshire end wait for home win by beating Middlesex

Specsavers County Championship Division Two, The 3aaa County Ground, Derby (day four):
Derbyshire 265 & 333-3 dec: Reece 157*, Slater 99, Madsen 52
Middlesex 157 & 340: Harris 64*, Helm 52; Olivier 4-82
Derbyshire (21 points) beat Middlesex (3 points) by 101 runs

Derbyshire ended their long wait for a home victory in the County Championship by beating Middlesex to win by 101 runs on the final day of the Division Two match at Derby.

A run of 23 home championship matches without a win stretching back 1,306 days to September 2014 was finally broken when Duanne Olivier bowled Tim Murtagh to end spirited resistance by the Middlesex tail.

Anything other than a Derbyshire win seemed unlikely with Middlesex set an improbable target of 442 but the visitors took the match deep into the last session through a ninth wicket stand of 106 between James Harris, who was unbeaten on 64, and Tom Helm.

A much earlier finish looked in prospect when Middlesex lost two wickets in the first three overs of the morning with Max Holden and Ollie Rayner falling to Duanne Olivier and Hardus Viljoen.

Rayner went in the second over when Olivier moved one back to take the edge and Wayne Madsen held an excellent catch at first slip.

Holden had displayed sound technique to come through 29 overs on the third evening and looked capable of frustrating Derbyshire but he pushed at one angled across him and was caught behind for 37.

It was now a question of how long Middlesex could delay the inevitable and John Simpson and Paul Stirling showed the sort of application required on a pitch which had now flattened out.

They denied Derbyshire for 20 overs, adding 65 but the introduction of Luis Reece’s medium pace from the City End broke the stand in the 23rd over of the day.

Stirling tried to pull a ball but was through the shot too quickly, sending back a return catch off the bottom of the bat and Middlesex’s slide towards defeat gathered momentum in the final over of the session.

Madsen’s off-spin had been introduced to improve the over rate but he delivered a bonus wicket went Simpson went half forward and was lbw for 24.

Derbyshire continued with spin from both ends after lunch and Toby Roland-Jones pulled Matt Critchley’s leg-spin for six before he dragged a drive to midwicket.

Billy Godleman immediately took the second new ball but Harris and Helm played impressively to bat through 19 overs and take the match into the final session.

They dug in again for another 12 overs after tea with Helm completing a maiden first-class 50 before he was lbw to Critchley and Olivier returned to take his eighth wicket in the match and seal victory.