reports from Taunton
Somerset 376 & 323-7 dec Middlesex 350-3 dec & 262-6 Match drawn
End of term proceedings here may have ended in a wash-out, but the day certainly had its moments before the boys packed their bags and headed home. As for pocket money, Middlesex had pounds 27,500 to play with for finishing second in the Championship, while team-mates may wonder what Mark Ramprakash has in mind after collecting the batting prize.
He is due pounds 10,000 for heading the Whyte & Mackay rankings and it seemed that he was about to celebrate with yet another century. The parting shot was denied him though, and a combination of collapse and the weather halted Middlesex.
Still, Ramprakash leaves for South Africa with an insatiable appetite for runs and one can only hope that England are about to benefit. Having bagged a pair against the West Indies in June, he has taken out his wrath on toiling county bowlers.
Having made 111 first time around, Ramprakash hammered another 11 fours and two sixes in making 79 before Harvey Trump cut him off by clipping leg stump. Middlesex, chasing 350 in 63 overs, had seen Ramprakash put on 145 with Paul Weekes, but the loss of their main man in the midst of a Somerset haul of 4 for 6 wrecked their chances.
In his last 15 innings Ramprakash has scored nine hundreds - three of them doubles - and totalled 1,628 runs at an average of 116.
He had just passed 50 when one shot had Graham Rose diving for cover at long-off, the ball unfortunately rebounding off a stanchion straight into a woman's face. "I've never seen the ball hit so hard since Viv Richards was playing down here," another spectator commented.
Lest we forget, there were farewells. John Emburey, the 43-year-old Middlesex spinner, was applauded on and off the pitch by his colleagues, though he might not be finished with his employers after 22 years of service. "This was my last game in my present capacity," he said, "but I'm hopeful of an offer in a different role." As for Peter Wight, the umpire, he is definitely retiring at 65 after 30 years on the first-class list.
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