Middlesex 132 for 8 (Robson 56*, Bailey 3-24 ) vs Lancashire
By the time a combination of rain and bad light had shortened play by 38 overs, Robson’s relegation-threatened side had struggled to 132 for 8 and their problems were in sharp contrast to the prosperity Kent were enjoying at Canterbury, where Zak Crawley’s century had helped Kent make up three of the seven points between the sides at the bottom of Division One.
However, Middlesex supporters could be grateful their plight was not worse. Their close-of-play position represented a recovery from 19 for 5, the score when Ryan Higgins joined Robson to put on 64, the only substantial partnership of the innings to date.
Predictably, perhaps, Middlesex’s innings began dreadfully. Mark Stoneman was out for nought in the third over when he edged Bailey to the safe hands of Tom Hartley at fourth slip and nine balls later Joe Cracknell was bowled for one when Williams brought one back from outside off stump to defeat his loose drive.
Robson and Jack Davies then defied the Lancashire seamers for 45 minutes but that was merely the prelude to the fall of three wickets in 16 balls. Davies was caught by Phil Salt off Wood for four when he gloved an attempted pull down the leg side; Max Holden was out first ball when his hesitant push to a good ball from Wood merely edged a catch to George Bell at first slip; and then, having made just a single, the normally reliable John Simpson nicked a George Balderson delivery to Salt.
Ryan Higgins joined Robson and the sixth-wicket pair effected modest repairs either side of lunch with Higgins’ committed strokeplay a refreshing change from the indecision that had gone before. Seven overs after the resumption, though, he was bowled by Williams for a 50-ball 41 and by the time rain arrived to interrupt play for 90 minutes Josh de Caires had also departed, caught at first slip by Bell off Bailey for 14.
Play resumed under cloudy skies and with five slips posted but the next wicket fell in unconventional fashion when Jayant Yadav marked his Middlesex debut by pulling Bailey straight to Luke Wells at slip and departing for four.
The visitors’ hopes of making a competitive first-innings total now rest on Robson, the only batter to have made a first-class century this season for a team that has gained just two batting bonus points in 12 innings.