Worcestershire v Middlesex, New Road, 4th day August 31, 2012

Roland-Jones stars before perfect chase

Middlesex 306 (Dexter 90, Robson 72, Richardson 4-62) and 205 for 5 (Denly 48) beat Worcestershire 323 (Mitchell 133*, Kervezee 55, Roland-Jones 5-72) and 186 (Kervezee 64*, Roland-Jones 5-46) by five wickets

Paceman Toby Roland-Jones bagged the first 10-wicket haul of his career as Middlesex clinched a tense five-wicket win at New Road which leaves Worcestershire's Division One status hanging by a thread.

Roland Jones, 24, is the second highest wicket-taker in the Championship and finished with match figures of 10 for 118 to leave his side with the task of scoring 204 in 47 overs for victory. They timed their chase to perfection and reached their target with 11 balls to spare.

It was Middlesex's fourth Championship win of the season which enabled them to complete the double over Worcestershire, who they trounced by 132 runs at Lord's in early May.

The lively Roland-Jones followed up his first innings return of 5 for 72 with 5 for 46 in a performance reminiscent of his achievement in Middlesex's 2010 Championship match against Worcestershire, when he collected a nine-wicket match haul. On that occasion his side lost by 111 runs at Lord's.

He soon began to set about Worcestershire when they resumed 61 ahead on 44 for 3. Matt Pardoe, on 22 overnight, became his first scalp of the day when he had him trapped lbw playing across the line for 28. Spinner Ravi Patel nipped in to remove nightwatchman Chris Russell for a career-best 22 before Roland-Jones pushed Worcestershire further down the slippery slope with two more wickets.

Firstly, he bowled Neil Pinner middle stump and then had Joe Leach caught in the slips by Joe Denly before Alexei Kervezee and Ben Cox managed to steer their side to 125 for 7- a lead of 142.

Wicketkeeper Cox fell to Steven Crook shortly after the interval before Kervezee completed his second half-century of the match after collecting three fours off 91 balls. Crook also accounted for Gareth Andrew courtesy of a catch on the mid-wicket boundary by Gareth Berg and when Alan Richardson was run out, Kervezee was undefeated on 64 containing five fours off 112 balls.

Middlesex soon lost captain Chris Rogers to Richardson to leave them still needing to score a further 177 after tea. Sam Robson and Denly went on to complete a half-century partnership before Denly had a let-off when he was put down in the slips by Phil Hughes off former Middlesex paceman Richardson.

He had another lucky escape shortly afterwards when he charged down the wicket to the luckless Richardson and skied the ball to mid-off, where Kervezee allowed the ball to spill out of both hands low down.

Robson was not so fortunate when he offered a catch to Moeen Ali at first slip off Andrew for 35 after the pair put on 77 in 21 overs Denly's charmed life finally came to an end when a top-edged sweep at Moeen was caught by Cox. Denly made 48, containing five fours off 72 balls.

Dawid Malan and Crook added 50 in eight overs before Malan departed to an excellent catch by Hughes running in from long-on off Moeen. Crook was ousted by Russell for a valuable 30 to set the scene for Berg and Neil Dexter to complete an entertaining victory.

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  • Mark on September 1, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    @landl47, the betting is that TRJ will be in at least one of the winter squads. Middlesex has hardly been the place to look for a future England player in recent seasons, which certainly has not helped visibility (Steve Finn got picked on the basis of a pre-tour net in the UAE against the Main squad when he couldn't even get into the Lions XI at the time!) Maybe with CC1 cricket a reality and more press attending games, there will more focus on promising players. I think that TRJ has not caught the eye so much because he has gone in for steady performances, rather than the occasional headline-grabbing ones. Certainly, in recent weeks he has gone a superb job for his team, often in a losing cause.

  • John on September 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    With a bowling average of 20, strike rate of under 38 and more than 4 wickets a game in FC cricket, I'm not sure why TRJ isn't talked about more as an England prospect. He has better numbers than many who have played for England recently- no, let me rephrase that, he has better numbers than ANYONE who has played for England recently.

  • Ross on August 31, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Sssh! TRJ is Middlesex's guilty little secret, too many more match reports like this and he'll be off with the Lions at least! After a slowish start to the season he has hit a beautiful rhythm and looks like taking wickets every time he bowls. Along with his impressive season stats (59@18), his strike-rate of 35 (compared to a career SR of 38) is top draw, a wicket every six overs is a captain's dream. At 24, with 30 FC matches now under his belt, he is a genuine prospect. Murtagh complements him perfectly. After several years of consistently taking Division Two wickets, the development of the in-ducker alongside his natural away swing has enabled him to carry on in the same vein in the top flight. That's 59 Championship wickets apiece for the pair, and on the increasingly rare occasions Finn joins them they make a formidable County new ball attack. Angus Fraser must be a very happy man.

  • Mark on August 31, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    Middlesex have sealed first division cricket for next season. Job done! A lot of people feared that this would be beyond them. A professional win today in a match that looked dead at Tea. I feel sorry for Worcestershire who fought hard and deserved better.

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