mid-sex Beat 297 (Simpson 92, Eskinazi 64, Higgins 53, Finan 5-58) and 271 (Holden 91, Stoneman 81, Parkinson 4-69) Leicestershire 294 (Swindells 67, Scriven 65) and 194 (Ackermann 80, Roland-Jones 4-50) with 80 runs
After Leicestershire at 13 to four on Thursday’s close, it took a little longer than expected to get the job done, but duly secured an 80-run victory to set up an unexpectedly exciting final of the Division Two campaign in the LV = Insurance County Championship, with three more contenders for the two promotion spots.
Tailenders Chris Wright and Michael Finan had some fun at the end, hitting 61 runs in just over 11 overs for the last wicket.
Nottinghamshire would have wanted to bag the Division Two title after seven wins, but after their humble defeat to Worcestershire at New Road earlier this week, Middlesex’s win leaves a significant hole in their pillow at the top of the table.
It means the leaders will start the final round on Monday with their lead cut to just nine points, with Middlesex in second place, although they themselves are nervously looking over their shoulders at Glamorgan, whose win against Derbyshire in Cardiff puts them just nine points further. back in third place.
Nottinghamshire’s latest opponents are Durham at Trent Bridge, while Middlesex themselves travel to Worcester. Glamorgan takes on Sussex in Hove.
Leicestershire would have been even more confused on the third night had the poor light not allowed them to return to the port of the dressing room earlier than planned.
They lasted just over half an hour on the final morning before losing their fifth wicket, Harry Swindells even running before the umpire’s finger was raised after a swinging throw from Roland-Jones hit him squarely up front.
Tom Scriven, the former England Under-19 all-rounder, played nicely alongside Ackermann as the pair added 34 for the sixth wicket, but the introduction of Luke Hollman’s leg spin brought immediate results, as twice before in the match.
Scriven was his victim this time, releasing a bat catcher on the short leg as he tried to tap one away. When Barnes fell without scoring, beat for pace when lbw to Ethan Bamber, Leicestershire was 70 for seven.
But with the stubborn Callum Parkinson now on the other side, Middlesex were frustrated for over an hour and a half before they could claim the eighth wicket, Leicestershire added 65 runs in the process, with Ackermann surviving a chance on wicketkeeper John Simpson at 51.
The breakthrough came via an unexpected route. Sam Robson succeeded where Hollman had been unable to advance, the off spinner put in a leg break to get Ackermann into the sweep earlier.
One wicket led to another as Parkinson fell in the next, Tim Murtagh pushed one through to hit the front pad in line.
Still, Middlesex had to wait a little longer before their celebrations could begin, Wright and Finan took the opportunity to swing the bat without pressure, the former failed to finish 36th after Finan went out to deep midwicket at Robson to end the match at 3.15pm .
Deeply rooted at the bottom of the rankings, Leicestershire has one more chance – away to Derbyshire – to avoid another full season without a championship win, a fate that has befell them three times in the last ten years.