Peters puts Middlesex to the sword
Middlesex 47 for 1 and 347 trail Northamptonshire 581 for 7 dec by 186 runs
Stephen Peters fell one run short of what would have been the first double-century of his career after batting for just over nine hours to put Northamptonshire in a commanding position against Middlesex at Lord's.
He had faced 391 balls and hit 20 fours in the County Championship Division Two match when he chipped a return catch to Shaun Udal, sprawling to his right. Peters looked crestfallen but he had done a great job for his side in sharing stands of 182 with Alex Wakely, 70 with Nicky Boje and 144 with his captain Andrew Hall.
Hall went on to make 133 off 192 balls with 17 fours and when he declared at 581 for 7, Northamptonshire's highest score against Middlesex, they were 234 ahead. Middlesex closed on 48 for the loss of Scott Newman.
Northamptonshire had resumed at 280 for 4 in reply to Middlesex's first innings 347 and Peters and Boje added 50 in 14 overs before Boje pulled Pedro Collins straight to square leg. Peters, 115 overnight, was never in trouble as he went past his previous highest score of 183 not out - scored in leading Northamptonshire to a six-wicket victory over Middlesex at Northampton in April - but he became increasingly tentative as he neared his milestone.
In the end he could not get there but he had still made the highest score by a Northamptonshire batsman against Middlesex and given Hall the perfect platform to build his first century of the season.
David Murphy, a wicketkeeper-batsman from Loughborough University who is deputising for the injured Niall O'Brien, joined him in a seventh-wicket stand of 107. Murphy made an unbeaten 50, his highest score in the championship, off 87 balls and by the time Hall was bowled driving at Pedro Collins Middlesex were in disarray.
Udal, their captain, had his left hand strapped after splitting the webbing between his thumb and forefinger, and Gareth Berg, their newly-capped all-rounder, was off the field with back trouble.
No fewer than nine bowlers were used with only Udal himself and Collins emerging with any credit and the fielding was so poor that there were jeers from a section of the small crowd. Their mood did not improve when Newman edged his third ball from Jack Brooks to first slip but at least Sam Robson and Owais Shah held out until the close.