Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Worcs Again Held Up By Franklin As Uxbridge Clash Ends In A Draw

Worcs Again Held Up By Franklin As Uxbridge Clash Ends In A Draw

Worcestershire were held up by Middlesex captain James Franklin for the second time in the game as their LV = County Championship match at Uxbridge ended in a draw.

Joe Leach struck twice with the second new ball to take his wicket tally for the campaign to 37 as he removed John Simpson (5) and Ollie Rayner (0) in the immediate pre-lunch session.

Middlesex were 183 ahead at 259-7 in the 88th over when Rayner was dismissed.

But Franklin followed his first innings century with an unbeaten 91 and James Harris was 59 not out before Middlesex declared on 362-7  – a lead of 286 – 20 minutes after tea on a lifeless pitch.

That left Worcestershire a maximum of 24 overs batting and the players shook hands after they had reached 39-1 from 11 overs of spin designed to speed up the Middlesex over rate. 

Worcestershire claimed 12 points to Middlesex's 10 after another encouraging performance which has taken them to the half-way point in the Championship campaign.

The visitors had been rewarded with two wickets in the morning session after Middlesex had resumed on 140-3.

Moeen Ali ended a stand of 74 in 24 overs between Joe Burns and Paul Stirling in the third over of the day.

The England spinner bowled Stirling through the gate for 39 with an off break which turned sharply with Middlesex then 147-4 – a lead of just 71.

Burns and Franklin were relatively untroubled in adding 103 in 28 overs.

But Jack Shantry broke through in the penultimate over of the session when Burns (87) went for the pull shot and was well caught by Joe Leach on the deep mid wicket boundary.

At lunch Franklin was unbeaten on 48 with Middlesex 251-5 – a lead of 175.

The new ball was taken immediately after lunch and Leach struck in the fourth over after the resumption.

John Simpson (5) went to cut but bottom edged the ball onto his stumps with Middlesex 257-6.

Worcestershire's hopes were further lifted when Rayner was adjudged lbw to Leach for a duck but then Franklin and James Harris dug in and added an unbroken 74 from 23 overs by tea at 333-7.

There was time for Tom Fell to bowl his first over in first class cricket in his 31st match before the declaration by which time the Franklin-Harris stand was worth 103.

Middlesex opened with spinners Stirling and Rayner to bolster their over rate and the latter struck in his first over when Richard Oliver (6) was caught by Nick Compton at leg slip.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell (11 not out) and Moeen (21 not out) then batted out time against occasional bowlers Sam Robson and Compton.