After just eleven overs play were possible across the entire four days at Grace Road this week, Middlesex’s next outing in the Specsavers County Championship comes at Radlett Cricket Club’s Brunton Memorial Ground, where they’ll face a Glamorgan side currently sat in second place in the Division Two table.
This week Radlett will make its debut as a First-Class ground, having only featured as a venue for Middlesex’s List-A fixtures thus far. To date Middlesex have enjoyed plenty of success at Cobden Hill - winning five of the seven List-A games played at the ground and losing just five of the forty Second Eleven Championship clashes the ground has hosted in the last dozen years.
This week the Radlett ground-staff have been tested to their limit, with heavy rain falling in the area for the majority of the last few days. For all of Thursday and most of Friday morning, as an absolute deluge fell on the ground, the water blotter was the groundsman’s favourite piece of kit, as quite staggeringly over 1,500 gallons of water were removed from the covers across the square. It is to the ground-staff’s enormous credit that when the pitch was uncovered on Friday the track was bone dry and preparations for the game could continue as planned! Thankfully a brief respite from ‘Monsoon June’ over the next week should provide Radlett with a perfect window of opportunity to get the game on and completed!
With just six points collected from this week’s trip up to Leicestershire, the need for Middlesex to get back to winning ways and mount a push for promotion further increases, and Head Coach Stuart Law will be targeting the next four days as the first step towards them achieving that objective. After the disappointment of the innings defeat Middlesex suffered at the hands of Sussex in their last home outing at Lord’s, Law was looking at the Grace Road clash as the perfect opportunity for his side to bounce back and show their character – frustratingly the weather gods had other ideas! That focus now shifts to Radlett and the coming four days against Glamorgan, where the Coach is looking for his players to put their hands up and collectively turn a corner towards Middlesex making a concerted push towards the top end of the table.
Law names an unchanged squad from the one that travelled to Leicestershire, with both Tom Helm and Steven Finn now back to full fitness and included. James Harris misses out again, as he continues to recover from a broken thumb picked up against Sussex. Paul Stirling has another chance to prove his red ball credentials, whilst George Scott retains his place having shown good form in recent Second Eleven games.
Glamorgan come to Radlett as one of only three sides in the Second Division yet to be beaten in the Championship this term, along with Gloucestershire and Lancashire, and their record of two wins and four draws sees them sitting Second in the table, albeit only 33 points ahead of Middlesex. It is the tightness of the table that can give Middlesex plenty of encouragement, as a win or two in their next couple games will put a very different complexion on the Division Two table and would get their campaign nicely back on track.
Middlesex name the following thirteen-man squad…
Dawid Malan (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)
Spectator tickets are available to purchase on the gate at Radlett Cricket Club and cost £15 for adults, £10 for over 65’s and £5 for under 16’s.
Gates open at 10am every day and play is scheduled to start at 11am.