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Kiwis taste success on county final day

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/09/2016

Seasoned former Black Caps James Franklin, Jeetan Patel and Hamish Marshall all had cause for satisfaction when the curtain came down on the English county season.

Allrounder Franklin was captain as Middlesex claimed their first division one title for 23 years following a 61-run win over near rivals Yorkshire.

It was a dramatic conclusion to the four-day championship after Franklin declared, setting the visitors 240 off 40 overs to win at Lord's on Friday.

If successful, Yorkshire would have claimed a third-straight crown but they were dismissed 178.

Franklin defended the contrived nature of the declaration after his team slogged 120 inside the last nine overs of their second innings.

If the match was drawn, leaders Somerset would have claimed the title.

"Both teams felt we owed it to the occasion to try to make a good game of it," Franklin told BBC.

"To have the best chance of winning, there would have to be a bit of give and take and each side had to be prepared to lose."

It is the fifth different county stint for Franklin, 35, who signed for Middlesex in February as a local player because of an Irish grandfather.

Patel ended another prolific season as county cricket's leading wicket-taker with 69 scalps for Warwickshire.

The 36-year-old offspinner maintained his form until the final day, taking 3-46 as Lancashire were dismissed for 109, setting up a 237-run win for his sixth-placed side.

Meanwhile, an emotional Marshall was given a standing ovation after playing his part in guiding Gloucestershire to an unlikely draw against Sussex in Bristol.

Playing his last game for the second division county after 10 years' service, the 37-year-old struck 77 in their 337-7.

Marshall is returning for a season of domestic cricket in New Zealand where he will play for Wellington, the home association of Franklin and Patel.

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