Royal London One-Day Cup South Group

Middlesex 364-6 beat Somerset 246 by 118 runs

A BELOW-PAR Somerset slipped to their second successive Royal London One-Day Cup South Group defeat as Middlesex proved far too strong at Radlett.

Sam Robson recorded his maiden white-ball century as the hosts reignited their Royal London One-Day Cup prospects against a Somerset side who have now lost twice after winning their first four group matches.

Robson, making his first appearance in the competition since he limped off with a hamstring injury against Hampshire almost exactly two years ago, top scored with 106 from as many balls.

He shared an opening partnership of 138 with Max Holden (45) and, supported by a fluent knock of 90 from Nick Gubbins, set up Middlesex’s third-highest 50-over total of 364-6 after they had been put in to bat.

Somerset were unable to build any significant partnerships in response and were bowled out for 246 in 43.4 overs.

Holden was the more aggressive of Middlesex’s opening pair as they made a solid start, but Robson gradually eased into his stride, picking the gaps and hitting Josh Davey for successive leg-side fours.

Robson particularly relished the introduction of Tim Groenewald, heaving the Somerset seamer over the top for four and six in successive deliveries and following that up with 14 off his next over.

It was part-time bowler Azhar Ali who finally made the breakthrough, with Holden – who had earlier survived a chance to Tom Abell at midwicket – driving the leg-spinner into the hands of long on.

Gubbins moved up the order to three and made his attacking intent clear, looking particularly strong on the leg side, while Robson offered just one chance at 90, with Ali unable to cling on to a return catch.

But the Middlesex opener motored on to reach his ton from 99 deliveries, taking advantage of a misfield to run two before eventually pulling the first ball of Craig Overton’s second spell to Roelof van der Merwe at mid-wicket.

Gubbins looked well-placed to follow Robson into three figures, but his innings of 90 from 59 balls came to an end when he swung Van der Merwe into the hands of Lewis Gregory on the boundary.

Middlesex maintained their momentum during the later overs, with John Simpson (32) and Stevie Eskinazi (30) adding 60 before some powerful blows from George Scott (20*) and Toby Roland-Jones (22*) hauled them beyond 350.

Two sharp catches, from Nathan Sowter and Robson respectively, enabled the home side to make early inroads when Somerset replied, with Tom Banton (3) and Peter Trego (12) back in the pavilion before the end of the powerplay.

James Hildreth briefly threatened to make a significant impact, hitting 18 from 19 balls before he played on to James Harris, while Abell (8) was run out at the non-striker’s end when Scott deflected Ali’s drive onto the stumps.

Sowter (3-50) struck with his second delivery, persuading George Bartlett (17) to sweep to backward square leg before Ali – who had batted tidily for 46 – was caught behind swishing at Tom Helm.

Van der Merwe threw the bat for a swift 38 and, although Groenewald (28) and Davey (23*) delayed Middlesex with a last-wicket stand of exactly 50, Roland-Jones wrapped up victory when the former scooped him to mid-wicket.

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry: “We weren’t at our best with the bat, the ball or in the field, which is hugely disappointing because until the game against Gloucestershire, we’ve demonstrated what we can deliver.

"It’s the simple things we need to get back to.

“It’s actually quite difficult to defend at this ground and that was the reason we for us looking to have a bowl first.

"When we were at our best earlier in the competition we were consistently executing our skills and we’ve just gone away from that a little bit.

“We need to get back to that, focusing on putting the opposition under pressure. The lower order demonstrated that really well and it was a bit frustrating to have a couple of soft dismissals in the top order.

“We’re still in this competition, we’re right in the mix and there’s a lot to play for. We’ve got a bit of time now to get back on the horse.”

Report supplied by Ben Kosky, ECB Reporters' Network