Somerset thwart Middlesex victory charge


Somerset 376 & 202-7: Hildreth 85*; Rayner 4-56, Murtagh 2-33
Middlesex 423
Middlesex (9 pts) drew with Somerset (10 pts) 

Middlesex’s attempts to force their first County Championship win of the season were blunted by a rearguard action from James Hildreth at Lord’s.

Normally one of the more attacking batsmen on the circuit, Hildreth dug in for nearly four hours for his unbeaten 85 to help earn Somerset a draw.

Earlier, Ollie Rayner took four wickets – including three in 11 balls – as the visitors wobbled at 158-7, a lead of only 111.

But Hildreth and Craig Overton survived a further 17 overs before bad light brought an early end to the match.

Middlesex eked out a lead of 47 early in the day before reducing Somerset to 57-4. Tim Murtagh picked up openers Tom Abell (9) and Marcus Trescothick (5) before Rayner removed Chris Rogers, caught behind to one that turned enough to find a feint outside edge.

Rayner then took a spectacular one-handed catch at second slip, diving goalkeeper-style to his right to remove Jim Allenby off James Harris as Middlesex scented vicory.

Hildreth and Peter Trego put on 99 for the fifth wicket and looked to have slowed the charge, only for Rayner to come to the fore again.

Trego (58) was superbly caught by Harris, running in from deep backward square leg, while Lewis Gregory was out next ball as he edged to James Franklin at slip.

In Rayner’s next over, he bowled wicket-keeper Ryan Davies to give Middlesex renewed hope.

But Hildreth remained unmoved, showing exemplary footwork against Rayner, while Overton negotiated the seamers well on a docile surface as both sides settled for their sixth successive draw.