Robson sees Middlesex home
Australian batsman Sam Robson hit an unbeaten 94 and helped maintain Middlesex’s promotion bid with a six-wicket LV= County Championship win over Division Two rivals Surrey in Guildford.
The 22-year-old decided the outcome by scoring the sixth half-century of his fledgling first-class career to steer the visitors to their victory target of 189 with 29 overs to spare.
Having seen three of his team-mates depart in the space of nine overs, Robson maintained a cool head to lead the visiting run chase with a three-hour stay that included 11 fours and a six.
Together with his captain Neil Dexter, Robson added 86 in 17.3 overs either side of tea for the fourth wicket to take their side to the brink of victory before Dexter fell leg before for 31 after an hour at the crease.
It was left to Robson, a dual passport holder, to see the visitors to the win line with a back-foot force to the ropes at long-on to give Middlesex 22 points to Surrey’s three.
After a circumspect start to their run chase through opening partners Robson and Scott Newman, Middlesex suffered a case of the mid-session jitters in losing three quick wickets.
Newman threw away a good start with a back-foot waft against Zander de Bruyn to be caught behind after making 39, then the same bowler darted one back off the seam to pluck out the off stump of Chris Rogers for six.
Dawid Malan, the third left-hander in the Middlesex top four, attempted to withdraw the bat against Tim Linley only to steer a catch low to Tom Maynard at third slip to go for four and make it 84 for three.
Robson, though, found a willing ally in his skipper Dexter who departed with only 19 needed for victory.
At the start of the final day Surrey, who had been made to follow on, batted for just over an hour in adding 73 to their total of 379.
Again, it was Friday’s century-maker Maynard who entertained with his big hitting and fearless strokeplay as he took his boundary count to 17 fours and six sixes.
The young Welshman rode his luck and was dropped three times; twice by keeper John Simpson when stood up and more inexplicably by Dexter, who downed a sitter at mid-on, again off the bowling of Corey Collymore.
The hosts soon lost nightwatchman Linley lbw to Tim Murtagh then Maynard’s career-best knock came to an end on 141 off 101 balls when he skied a leading edge to Jamie Dalrymple at slip.
Murtagh then took his match tally to 10-128 and his season’s championship aggregate to 50 wickets when he snared Stuart Meaker leg before without scoring.
Last man Jade Dernbach holed out to mid-on to give the luckless Collymore a deserved wicket and leave Middlesex a minimum of 80 overs in which to chase their victory target and complete their first championship double over Surrey since 1983.