Middlesex 422 (Robson 84, Holden 71, Andersson 62, Stokes 4-72, Rushworth 3-60) and 119 for 4 (Handscomb 39*) beat Durham 350 (Trevaskis 80*, Eckersley 58, Roland-Jones 4-72) and 188 (Borthwick 60, Roland-Jones 6-35) by six wickets
John Simpson equalled the record for wicketkeeping dismissals in a match at Lord’s with nine catches as Middlesex beat Durham by six wickets on the final day of their LV= Insurance Championship clash.
The diminutive gloveman achieved the feat for the second time in his career at the home of cricket with five victims in Durham’s second innings to add to his four from the first. Toby Roland-Jones was the main beneficiary of Simpson’s latest entry into the county’s record books, returning 6 for 35 for match figures of 10 for 107, while Ethan Bamber took 3 for 18 as Durham were dismissed for 188 despite 60 from skipper Scott Borthwick.
Set 117 in 44 overs to win, the hosts made heavy weather of the chase before skipper Peter Handscomb, whom it was confirmed in an afternoon press release would leave the club at the end of the match to join up with Australia-A, signed off with 39 not out to see them home.
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For much of the morning there was little sign of the drama to come as Borthwick and night-watchman Matthew Salisbury batted with relative comfort on a placid surface.
Borthwick pulled Roland-Jones to the mid-wicket fence before driving Martin Andersson twice in an over through the same region. Salisbury too played with increasing confidence, garnering three boundaries from one especially expensive Andersson over.
Borthwick eased to 50 with 10 fours and 20 minutes before lunch the game appeared to be meandering aimlessly, before the reintroduction of Roland-Jones gave it a much needed kiss of life.
The seamer’s loosener looked set to be given the full treatment, but Borthwick under-edged the offering into his middle stump which was duly uprooted from the turf.
If that wicket owed a little to lady luck, the prize scalp of England captain Ben Stokes two balls later was down to inspiration. Roland-Jones found a smidgen of away movement to find the edge and Sam Robson took a smart catch at second slip.
Minutes later Robson grabbed an even better one inches from the turf to send Ned Eckersley packing for just 2 off the bowling of Bamber, leaving Durham six down at lunch and just 44 in front.
Salisbury survived the mayhem to eclipse his previous career-best of 41 immediately after the resumption, but a maiden first-class 50 would elude him as Bamber found the edge for Simpson to take his seventh catch of the game. And seven became eight when Bamber, awarded his county cap on Thursday, struck again to remove one of Durham’s first-innings heroes Liam Trevaskis.
The Durham response was to counter-attack, Ben Raine and Brydon Carse unfurling a succession of meaty blows, hitting Luke Hollman out of the attack and greeting the return of Tim Murtagh with similar disdain. It needed Roland-Jones to return to break the stand of 41, Simpson again the catcher.
There wouldn’t be a record 10th as after Raine (39 not out) deposited Murtagh into the Mound Stand, the bowler had Chris Rushworth caught by Roland-Jones for a duck.
Robson was an early victim of Raine, nibbling at one he could have left and there were nerves when fellow opener Mark Stoneman edged spinner Trevaskis to Eckersley for a brisk 29. Josh De Caires did little to ease those fears when bowled by Borthwick and Max Holden edged Trevaskis to slip with 29 still needed.
But Simpson twice planted Borthwick long hops into the Mound Stand as he and Handscomb saw Middlesex over the line to send them back to the top of the Division Two table.