Middlesex seal historic County Championship title


Middlesex 270 & 359-6 dec: Malan 116, Gubbins 93; Lees 2-51
Yorkshire 390 & 178: Bresnan 55; Roland-Jones 6-54, Murtagh 2-28
(17 pts) beat Yorkshire (7 pts) by 61 runs

Toby Roland-Jones’ stunning hat-trick saw Middlesex beat Yorkshire on an action-packed final day to clinch their first County Championship title for 23 years.

Amid high drama at Lord’s, Ashford-born Roland-Jones removed Azeem Rafiq with the last ball of the 34th over and then returned in the next to seal victory by bowling both Andy Hodd and Ryan Sidebottom.

The result was made possible by a brave declaration which saw reigning champions Yorkshire set 240 in 40 overs to retain the trophy.
But they were bowled out for 178, Roland-Jones finishing with 6-54 and sprinting away in ecstasy when the final wicket fell.

Middlesex started the day on 81-2, still 39 runs adrift, but Nick Gubbins and Dawid Malan stretched their overnight partnership to 198, frustrating Yorkshire’s attempts to win it by bowling Middlesex out.

Gubbins chipped a return catch to off-spinner Rafiq just before lunch, but Malan completed his third hundred of the season soon after the interval, before hitting a full toss from opener Alex Lees straight to square leg in the second over of declaration bowling.

This prolonged spell of help yourself bowling yielded 120 runs in just under nine overs to allow Middlesex to set Yorkshire a target which could give both sides a chance of victory, and therefore the championship.

Director of cricket Angus Fraser (left) and skipper James Franklin celebrate with the trophy

Somerset, who would win the title if the match at Lord’s ended in a draw, could only wait and see.

At the halfway stage of their chase Yorkshire were well behind the asking rate at 87-3, having lost Adam Lyth (13), Lees (20) and David Willey (11).

Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance added 50 in 10 overs to reinvigorate the visitors, before the latter swung at Steven Finn and skied to Sam Robson at deep mid-on.

Bresnan, who clubbed two legside sixes off Rayner and Finn, went for 55 as he tried to whip a ball away to mid-wicket and was adjudged lbw.

Skipper Andrew Gale survived some nervy moments to contribute 22, but he was bowled making room against the impressive Roland-Jones, to leave Yorkshire 160-6.

Steven Patterson was bowled by Finn as Yorkshire’s second innings disintegrated in the face of some superb pace bowling, leaving Roland-Jones to finish the job, sparking wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.