Montgomerie does the damage

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The Independent Online
Middlesex 181-8 Northamptonshire 182-4 Northants win by six wickets

The tough and the seasoned were humming again. North-amptonshire, guided by John Emburey, their player-coach, overwhelmed a callow Middlesex team, with Richard Montgomerie scoring a Sunday-best 69 from 85 balls as they reinforced their title challenge.

Emburey, 43, the former Middlesex and England off- spinner, reached 350 wickets in the competition, second only to John Lever who acquired 386 with Essex. Middlesex have only one Sunday win at Northampton and that was 20 years ago.

Northamptonshire were briskly consoling themselves for a sequence of five limited-overs defeats in six games, including two by Lancashire, one in the Benson and Hedges Cup final. They had begun the season with 13 consecutive wins in one-day matches.

A feeling of deja vu haunted Middlesex. A week earlier, they made 180 for 8 and lost by seven wickets to Leicestershire. One extra run this time meant nothing on the way to being outbowled, outbatted, outfielded and outplayed.

It was as simple as that. Paul Weekes sustained them with a half-century from 69 balls, but down below, only John Carr made any significant contribution.

Northamptonshire survived the retired-hurt exit of Robert Bailey after being struck on the left wrist by Angus Fraser, who had earlier taken 16 flamboyant runs from Paul Taylor's final over.

Middlesex, a team in transition, suffered when Montgomerie launched three consecutive boundaries from Jamie Hewitt. Winning this competition looks way beyond them, despite starting the day in second place. Northamptonshire might just take the title for the first time, their previous best being third in 1991.

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