Comp­ton and Crane show their worth

The Cricket Paper - - NORTH PREVIEW - By Chris Hughes

IF NICK Comp­ton can trans­fer his sec­ond XI form to the Mid­dle­sex first-team then he could play a key role for the reign­ing county cham­pi­ons after they bat­tered Kent by an in­nings and 107 runs in their Sec­ond XI Cham­pi­onship opener.

The for­mer Eng­land man notched a com­posed 107off 191 balls be­fore be­ing caught by Calum Haggett off the bowl­ing of Im­ran Qayyum as he helped Mid­dle­sex to a to­tal of 492-9dec in the South Di­vi­sion en­counter.

He was ably as­sisted by Tom Lace’s 94 and Nathan Sowter’s classy 81 as Kent’s bowlers failed to get a han­dle on their op­po­nents.

Qayyum and Ivan Thomas did take three wick­ets apiece, but Thomas was in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive as he went for an even hun­dred runs off his 18 overs.

The hosts were al­ready in con­trol by this point after their bowl­ing unit tore through Kent’s top or­der and skit­tled them for 151.

Adam Ball, Zak Craw­ley, Alex Blake and Saf Im­tiaz all went cheaply as they fell to 20-4 and al­though a mi­nor re­cov­ery was made – with Haggett’s un­beaten 72 at the fore­front – Tom Bar­ber (4-41) helped pol­ish off the tail.

With a 341-run first-in­nings

deficit, things looked bleak for Kent and barely im­proved sec­ond time around.

Ball and Kai Ap­pleby did put on an im­pres­sive third-wicket part­ner­ship of 158 but Ryan Hig­gins’ 3-22 from 12 overs was the high­light as Mid­dle­sex knocked over their op­po­nents for 234 to wrap up the mam­moth vic­tory.

Hamp­shire were also vic­tors in the open­ing round of South Di­vi­sion matches as they beat Sur­rey by seven wick­ets in their three-day con­test.

The match was finely poised head­ing into the sec­ond in­nings after Sur­rey had made 231 – Ol­lie Pope top-scor­ing with 92 – and Chris Wood’s 75 led Hamp­shire to 218 in re­sponse.

But 20-year-old leg-spin­ner Ma­son Crane proved ex­actly why so many are talk­ing him up as a fu­ture Eng­land star as his 577 lim­ited Sur­rey to 186 sec­ond time round.

And Will Smith did most of the dam­age with a flu­ent un­beaten 108 as Hants reached their tar­get with seven wick­ets in hand.

Mean­while, in the North Di­vi­sion, Der­byshire and Lan­cashire played out a three­day draw as the for­mer nar­rowly failed to force a vic­tory.

Der­byshire gave them­selves two ses­sions to bowl Lancs out and de­spite Ben Cot­ton’s 3-41, the Red Rose County only lost seven wick­ets as Toby Lester and Mat­tie McKier­nan held firm at the death.

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