It was a tale of two centuries, an exciting game in glorious September sunshine, everything except a Hampshire victory. Their third in a row leaves them a nail biting visit to Derby in their attempt to gain the last promotion spot in Division Two of the National League.

Nic Pothas and Simon Katich gave Hampshire a superb start after being invited to bat when losing the toss. The pair put together 144 for the first wicket, the Hawks highest opening stand in the competition for 7 years.

Pothas was first to be dismissed when he lofted a catch to deep mid-off, but not before he had struck a run a ball 78 with 10 fours, his highest one-day score for the county. Derek Kenway played a brisk innings of 22 before he too mistimed a drive and was caught.

Katich shortly after reaching his century played on to a ball from Paul Weekes, who struck again next ball by having John Crawley bowled to a ball that hardly left the ground.

Will Kendall back in the side for the absent John Francis played a cameo innings, sharing a 43 run stand with Dimitri Mascarenhas, including pulling Weekes for six almost falling over in the process. Mascarenhas also struck a six, and Hampshire finished with their highest ever total against Middlesex.

On a good Lord's wicket, Middlesex got off to a flying start, Paul Weekes shared in two speedy stands of 77 with Andrew Strauss and 80 with Chad Keegan, and suddenly 277 did not seem quite enough.

Weekes finally fell when Mascarenhas caught him on the long off boundary from the bowling of Prittipaul, and for a while the home side seemed to be getting behind the clock.

Owais Shah the young England prospect however brought them to the brink, leaving the Crusaders requiring 9 runs to win off the last over.

Mascarenhas who had not been at his best was entrusted with the task of bowling the 45th over. He was immediately pounced on by Shah for a huge six and ensure victory was almost theirs. Shah fell next ball, well caught by Shaun Udal to give Mascarenhas the new Hampshire record of 32 wickets in a NL/SL Season, a record taken from Udal himself.

With 3 to win from 4 balls, Dalrymple drove straight to Katich but was dropped and they scampered a single, Joyce then brought the scores level, before a hurried run with the fielders enclosed to save the run, won it for Middlesex and give the Hawks a nervous week.

For the statistically conscious Hampshire's 277 runs was their highest ever losing score, defeating the 276 they scored in a losing cause against Surrey in 1997.