Somerset seal victory over Middlesex at Taunton
- Credit: Gavin Ellis
Lewis Goldsworthy completed a memorable first-class debut as Somerset clinched a four-wicket LV= Insurance County Championship victory over Middlesex at Taunton.
Having contributed an invaluable 39 to his side's first innings, the 20-year-old Cornishman shared an unbroken match-winning stand of 86 with Steve Davies to take the Cidermen to their target of 207 soon after lunch.
Goldsworthy finished 41 not out and Davies unbeaten on 44, while Tim Murtagh had figures of four for 53 at the end of an absorbing contest, sadly played out in front of empty stands at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Somerset took 21 points from their third group win in four games while Middlesex, who had bossed much of the game, had to be content with seven.
The home side began the final morning on 104 for four, needing a further 103 to win. Tom Abell, unbeaten on 43 overnight, got the run chase under way with a two through mid-wicket off Murtagh.
George Bartlett launched his innings with a sweetly struck offside boundary in Tom Helm's opening over.
On 47, Abell survived a confident shout from Murtagh for lbw, umpire Ian Gould remaining unmoved.
Bartlett's second boundary was another well-timed stroke, this time pulling Helm through mid-wicket.
Abell edged Murtagh just short of second slip before Gould upheld a second lbw appeal from the same bowler, with the Somerset skipper one short of a half-century and with 89 runs still needed.
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Murtagh's next over saw Bartlett depart in the same fashion for 12, playing across the line, and at 123 for six Somerset looked in serious trouble.
It was another major test for the temperament of diminutive debutant Goldsworthy as he was joined by the experienced Davies.
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As in the first innings when coming in at 98 for four, the youngster passed with flying colours, getting into line with solid defensive technique against some probing seam bowling.
Murtagh completed a fine eight-over spell from the River End before Davies lifted some of the pressure with two cover-driven fours in the same Martin Andersson over.
Goldsworthy produced the shot of the day, savagely pulling Steve Finn to the mid-wicket boundary for four, with the sound of a pistol crack as bat met ball.
Both batsmen demonstrated the patience to await a loose delivery and, while each played and missed occasionally, they gradually sucked the life out of the Middlesex seam attack.
Goldsworthy brought up the fifty stand with a boundary to third man off the returning Murtagh.
By lunch the partnership was worth 65 and Somerset were within 19 runs of what for more than two days had seemed a highly unlikely victory.
After the break, Middlesex turned to leg-spinner Luke Hollman in a last throw of the dice.
But Davies and Goldsworthy remained unperturbed and the latter sparked loud celebrations on the home dressing room balcony when striking the winning boundary off a Hollman full toss.