Rogers secures important draw
Middlesex 317 and 313 for 8 dec drew with Northamptonshire 399
A sixth-wicket partnership of 188 in 49 overs between Chris Rogers and John Simpson enabled Middlesex to hold Northamptonshire, County Championship Division Two leaders, to a draw at Lord's and remain only seven points behind with a game in hand.
It looked as though Middlesex were on their way to only their second defeat of the season when they slumped to 78 for 5, still four runs away from avoiding an innings defeat, but they batted all day to finish on 313 for 8.
Rogers, who had two seasons with Northamptonshire in 2006 and 2007 as well as spells with Leicestershire and Derbyshire, made 145 before he was leg before to the occasional leg-spin of Rob White. Simpson, the wicketkeeper who has forced his way into the Middlesex side on the strength of his batting, had scored 72 when he was bowled playing across the line against Luke Evans.
Middlesex had started the final day 24 runs behind at 58 for 4 and they had added only 20 when Jamie Dalrymple, who had helped Rogers add 47 for the fifth wicket, was bowled by Chaminda Vaas for 23.
They were still only 36 ahead when Rogers, then on 61, edged Andrew Hall, the Northamptonshire captain, to second slip where Rob White put down a straightforward catch and they were no more than 150 runs on when Simpson, on 47, was badly dropped by Hall himself at slip off James Middlebrook.
Those dropped catches were to cost Northamptonshire dearly and their frustration showed as the day wore on. Rogers went on to reach his third championship hundred of the season in the last over before lunch when he pulled off spinner Alex Wakely's first two balls for six and he had also struck 19 fours in his 145 off 238 balls when he played back to White and fell leg before.
Middlesex were then 184 runs ahead and their lead had been stretched to 209 by the time Simpson, who had faced 174 balls and hit nine fours, was out.
In between, Lee Daggett had Steven Crook caught at slip but that was academic because Northamptonshire had already settled for 11 points and Middlesex nine to extend the gap between themselves and third-placed Derbyshire.