Cricket: Gloucestershire deny Middlesex in draw
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Young Gloucestershire opener Miles Hammond registered his second first-class hundred of the season as the Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex ended in a draw at Bristol.
Making only his eighth appearance in red-ball cricket, the 22-year-old left-hander batted for four-and-a-half hours in raising a career-best 123 not out from 268 balls before Gloucestershire declared their second innings on 251-8.
Required to score a notional 306 from a minimum 40 overs for victory, Middlesex gave up all hope of chasing after being reduced to 29-4, eventually reaching the close on 111-5.
Gloucestershire garnered nine points to consolidate fifth place in Division Two, while Middlesex banked eight, a return which all but ends their interest in the promotion race.
Still in a precarious position when resuming on 87-4, Gloucestershire showed no interest in risking defeat via a sporting declaration. It became apparent that no agreement had been reached between the two captains when Middlesex took the second new ball in an attempt to bowl the hosts out after lunch, at which point an already sparse audience dwindled further.
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That will not concern Hammond, however, who followed up his maiden century against Sussex at the Cheltenham Festival in July, with another mature innings of substance.
Intent upon little more than survival to begin with, his 50 occupied 134 balls, after which he asserted himself. Especially effective square of the wicket, he moved to three figures via a further 94 deliveries, bringing up that landmark by pulling Fuller to the boards for his tenth four.
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Jack Taylor kept him company during the morning session, contributing 43 in a revitalizing stand of 94 for the fifth wicket before edging a catch behind off Tim Murtagh shortly before lunch.
Fuller ran out Ryan Higgins for 23 and accounted for Craig Miles, caught behind for nine, while Ben Charlesworth chipped Dawid Malan to extra cover for 10 after Middlesex had taken the new ball in an attempt to force the issue. But the visitors could find no way past the obdurate Hammond.
Buoyed by three straight wins, Middlesex went hard at it in their second innings, only to lose wickets quickly. Paul Stirling was run out by James Bracey in the first over, Malan top-edged a pull shot to mid-wicket, Nick Gubbins was pinned lbw by Miles and Eoin Morgan scooped a leading edge to mid-on to become David Payne’s second victim.
Higgins accounted for Fuller lbw for 16, but Sam Robson and Steve Eskinazi stood firm, finishing unbeaten on 41 and 20 respectively to rebuff Gloucestershire.