Wednesday, 3rd August 2005

Weekes to the rescue before Clark strikes for Middlesex


Vs: Warwickshire

Match: TOM1

Venue: Lord's

Day 1

Middlesex made a welcome return to Lordís after an absence of some six weeks to find themselves put in to bat by a Warwickshire side boosted by the recruitment of South African opening bowler, Makhaya Ntini.
The Middlesex team included Stuart Clark as an overseas player to replace Scott Styris.

The Warwickshire investment paid off immediately when Ed Smith played a loose drive to the first ball of the match and was caught at slip. Owais Shah joined skipper Ben Hutton at the crease and they saw off the threat of the all South African new ball attack of Ntini and Pretorius.

Shah continued his fine form with some superb drives to the boundary, and Hutton continued his welcome return to form. This pair added 117 runs for the second wicket in 22 overs before Hutton was dismissed leg before to the spin of Loudon for 49 (off 71 balls, five fours). In the following over Shah drove Carter to Knightís left hand at mid on, and was run out for 63 (68 balls, 10 fours) when the fielder threw down the stumps at the bowlers end.

Worse was to follow as Ed Joyce was trapped LBW by Pretorius for 13, and Ntini had Jamie Dalrymple caught at second slip next ball for 9, the same combination accounting for Ben Scott two balls later to reduce Middlesex to 143-6 at lunch, after 30 overs.

Peter Trego, playing only his second championship match for Middlesex, gave Paul Weekes valuable support scoring 26 out of a seventh wicket partnership of 58 before he pulled Loudon to short mid-on.

Chris Peploe joined Weekes and they added a further 50 runs for the seventh wicket before Peploe was caught at the wicket off Ntini for 23 (five fours). Clark perished in the following over trying to hit over the top to leave Middlesex on 252-9 with Paul Weekes 54 not out.

Weekes took nine runs off the first four balls of Ntiniís next over, before Melvyn Betts pulled the last ball over mid-wicket for six. The partnership flourished and the tea interval was delayed by almost an hour. The pair added 71 runs for the last wicket before Betts was caught at slip of Brown for 30 (off 61 balls), leaving Paul Weekes stranded on 92 not out (135 balls, with 13 fours).

The afternoon session lasted 190 minutes and twenty five overs play remained when Warwickshire went in to bat. Nick Knight saw off the opening three overs before Westwood was trapped LBW by Betts for a third ball duck.

Stuart Clark then had Trott well caught by the diving Ben Scott and in his seventh over of the innings; he captured the prized wicket of Nick Knight bowled for 13. With the final ball of Clarkís eighth over he bowled Troughton for 7 to reduce the visitors to 33-4.

Loudon and Frost safely negotiated the remaining 10 overs as Warwickshire reached 62-4 at the close of play. Stuart Clark took 3-29 off 11 overs, with Melvyn Betts taking 1-8 off 7 overs.

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