Helm Steers us with hope of victory
Helm Hanging on
By Lower Mound
May 16 2019
Lower Mound takes us through a day with many twists and turns for Middlesex. In between we hear of a chance meeting with Mike Gatting.
Leicestershire began day three on 257-9, and were 92 behind Middlesex. It took 4.1 overs for their final wicket to fall, with Chris Wright being bowled by Tom Helm for 12, meaning that Leics were all out for 268, giving The Middle a first innings lead of 81.
Sam Robson and Max Holden opened, and with the score on 9, Holden edged Tom Taylor to Colin Ackermann and was out for 5. Nick Gubbins was next in. With the score on 32, Robbo gave Taylor his second wicket when he edged wicket-keeper Lewis Hill for 22. The next batsman in was Tom Lace, but he didn’t last long, as he was out for 4 when he was caught by slip fielder Paul Horton off Wright to make it 48-3. Next in was Stephen Eskinazi, and he and Gubbo ensured that no more wickets fell in the session, as we reached lunch on 73-3, with Gubbo on 25 and Eski on 17.
During the lunch interval, I bumped into Mike Gatting, who was one of many ex-players in attendance for the annual Middlesex Players Association Day. I pointed out to him that I seem to keep on beating him for each match in the Know Your Cricket competition, so he replied that it is because he doesn’t know what our line-up will be for each match!
Our 4th wicket fell with the score on 91, when Gubbo was caught by Hill off Wright for 36 to end a partnership worth 43, which brought John Simpson to the crease. However, the next partnership did not yield any runs, as Eski was out in the next over to a brilliant catch by Ackermann off Mohammad Abbas for 20 to bring in George Scott. And it became three wickets for as many runs inside 3.4 overs when Scott was bowled by Wright for 3 to leave us in deep trouble on 94-6 and ahead by 175. James Harris was now in, and he was able to score 12 and take the score to 113 before he was caught by Hill off Taylor. Ollie Rayner then came in, but could only score 1 before Ackermann contributed with the ball by having Rayner caught by Hasan Azad, which left us 114-8 and still needing 5 more to get our lead to 200. Thankfully, Simmo found an ally in Helm, as they saw us through to tea on 166-8, with their partnership on 52.
After tea, Simmo and Helm’s partnership continued to flourish, and they actually made batting look easy as they approached their fifties. The partnership reached 85 before it was broken with the score on 199 when Helm fell lbw to Ben Mike - whose father Greg played for Nottinghamshire - having scored a well-played 46 to add to his first innings 37 not out. This meant that our lead was 280 and that Leics would have to better their first innings score of 268. Ethan Bamber was now in. Two overs later, Simmo brought up his first County Championship fifty since 2017, coming off 123 balls with 8 fours, which subsequently become 9 fours with the next ball he faced. Shortly after, it was announced that Simmo had passed 6,000 first-class runs. With the score on 222, my son Jonathan Winsky arrived from work and remarked that the partnerships for our final two wickets had nearly doubled the score from when we were 114-8, and that there should be a big round of applause if we reach 228. However, as also happened on the previous two days, Jonathan’s arrival prompted a wicket to fall, as Bamber fell lbw to Mike for 8, with Simmo finishing on 59 not out, leaving us 223 all out.
Leicestershire therefore needed 305 to win, and unless they score at a run rate of 3.81, we will have two new balls available to us for our quest to take 10 wickets. It was hoped that the 13 overs before the close with the first new ball would yield some wickets, but Ateeq Javid and Horton saw Leics through to the close on 38-0, with Horton being more fluid having scored 28 runs to Javid’s 6. As we wished for our fast bowlers to use the new ball, there were no overs for Rayner, despite being the pick of our bowlers in the first innings with 4-58. Thankfully, this did not stop our over rate showing as +1.
We could do with wickets falling consistently tomorrow, preferably with some early breakthroughs. Hopefully the forecast of heavy cloud cover all day will help our bowlers on what will be a day four pitch.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:05:20:21:40:18 by London Leprechaun.
I would like to add one moment. Simmo was on 0. A lob to square leg the fielder Crosgrove couldn't get down quick enough to take what looked like a simple catch.
I'm only here for the tele