Northants v Middlesex: Toby Roland-Jones gives visitors victory
LV= County Championship Division One, Wantage Road
Middlesex 543-7 dec beat Northants 283 & 176 by an innings and 84 runs
Middlesex 23 pts, Northants 3 pts
Toby Roland-Jones produced career-best match figures of 12-105 as Middlesex beat Northants by an innings and 84 runs to go top of Division One.
Stubborn resistance by Ben Duckett (56) and Ian Butler (14) extended the game until after lunch on the final day.
They added 62 in 38 overs for the eighth wicket before Roland-Jones (6-50) removed both in successive overs.
The game ended when Dawid Malan ran out Muhammad Azharullah as Northants were dismissed for 176 in the 88th over.
- Toby Roland-Jones achieved four personal records in the game - best innings figures (twice), best match figures, highest first-class score.
- Only one of Middlesex's last 15 Championship fixtures has ended in a draw.
It was Middlesex's fourth win from six games this season and put them 19 points clear of second-placed Yorkshire, who have a game in hand.
Resuming on 88-4, Northants were in need of a major partnership to have any chance of avoiding a fourth defeat in five games following last summer's promotion from Division Two.
However, Rob Newton, Andrew Hall and David Murphy were all back in the pavilion inside nine overs, the first two caught behind and Murphy bowled by the impressive Roland-Jones.
But Middlesex found 19-year-old Duckett and Butler in no mood to surrender, the latter in particular showing tremendous powers of self-denial as they advanced the score by only 23 runs in 27.4 overs before lunch.
New Zealander Butler faced 119 balls in an innings lasting almost two hours when the return of pace bowler Roland-Jones prompted him to edge to the wicketkeeper.
Duckett was left as Northants' last hope of avoiding an innings defeat, but after collecting nine fours in his first half-century of the summer, he was caught by Ravi Patel as Roland-Jones equalled his best single-innings return.
BBC Radio Northampton's Chris Egerton:
"Spirits are understandably down with four defeats on the trot for Northants, three of them by an innings, and there is no hiding from the fact that their batsmen have failed to convince, with no centuries scored and only one partnership above 100.
"Confidence is clearly a problem with batsmen failing to go on past 50, catches going down at key stages and the bowlers demoralised. Frustration is building and a 10-day break from the Championship is a good thing.
"Few positives exist, but their overseas recruit Ian Butler looks a useful signing, 19-year-old Ben Duckett made an excellent half-century - his highest first-class score - and David Willey is not far away from being able to bowl a ball in anger.
"But a lot more than that needs to go right if Northants are to climb off the bottom of the table."