May 7, 2001

Essex beat Middlesex by 71 runs

Despite a determined innings of 73 from captain Stephen Fleming, Middlesex were beaten by 71-runs to end their interest in this year's competition.

The New Zealand captain faced 108 deliveries and hit seven boundaries but found little support from his colleagues with the 22 from Paul Weekes being the chief contributor.

The pair put on 55 for the fourth wicket in a watchful 18 overs before Weekes was stumped but thereon, Middlesex failed to provide any support for the impressive Fleming whose authority was the day's highlight.

Six wickets fell in 12 overs including that of Fleming whose one man effort ended when he gave a return catch off a leading edge to off-spinner Tim Mason and with his dismissal went his county's hopes. Mason also claimed two further wickets to finish a commendable performance with 3-40.

Earlier, the home side's batsmen displayed a level of consistency throughout the order that Fleming would have desired. Although opening batsmen Darren Robinson had been dismissed for a duck for the second time in successive matches, six Essex batsmen weighed in with useful contributions.

Stephen Peters, 48, acted as the backbone for his side, being involved in two valuable partnerships before being trapped lbw to end an eighth wicket partnership of 53 in eight overs with Ashley Cowan that gave the innings the required substance. Cowan made 45 runs from 47 balls in a breezy innings that bolstered Peters' efforts, before being bowled by Chad Keegan off the final ball of the innings to give the bowler his third wicket.