Compton and Crane show their worth
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.