MIDDLESEX NAME SQUAD OF FOURTEEN FOR CRUCIAL BOB WILLIS TROPHY CLASH
After completing half of their Vitality Blast South Group campaign, Middlesex make a return to first-class cricket tomorrow, when they head to Chelmsford to take on reigning Champions Essex in the Bob Willis Trophy.
Head Coach Stuart Law has named a fourteen-man squad for the crucial clash, taking place from Sunday through to Wednesday.
Currently sitting third in the table, Middlesex will need to beat Essex at the Cloudfm County Ground this week and then rely upon results elsewhere if they are to progress to the five-day final at Lord’s, due to begin on 23rd September.
Essex currently top the South Group on 70 points, with Kent in second on 63, and then Middlesex 4 points behind on 59. A win for Middlesex and anything other than a win for Kent would see Law’s side finish as South Group winners, and then hope that the final points tally of either the Central or North Group winners is lower than Middlesex’s haul.
Lot’s of ifs, buts, and maybes for Middlesex to qualify, but for Law’s side to have played themselves into a position where they can finish as winners of the South Group going into the final match of the campaign is credit to some terrific performances from his inexperienced side. Aside of a couple of poor sessions, Middlesex have dominated the majority of sessions they’ve played in, in each of their previous four Bob Willis Trophy encounters, and they can head to Chelmsford high in confidence and looking forward to another good showing against a strong Essex outfit.
Law’s policy of rotating the pace bowlers has served his side well this season, with only Toby Roland-Jones ruled out through injury, although even in that instance it wasn’t due to a heavy workload. Tom Helm, Steven Finn and Blake Cullen sit out of this one, with both Finn and Helm getting well-earned rests having played key roles in Middlesex’s Vitality Blast campaign to date, with five other seamers named in the squad instead. The ever reliable Tim Murtagh returns, looking to pick up where he left off, alongside Martin Andersson, Ethan Bamber, Miguel Cummins, and James Harris, whilst Nathan Sowter and Thilan Walallawita are named as the frontline spinners.
Law again backs youth in the Bob Willis Trophy, with both Jack Davies and Thilan Walallawita named in the ranks, two of three players that have benefitted from their first-class debuts under Law in this shortened season.
Middesex head into the clash having won their last four-day encounter against Sussex inside three days at Radlett and will be looking to repeat that level of performance against an until now unbeaten Essex side - the only side in the group yet to taste defeat!
With both sides needing the win, it promises to be an exciting four days in Chelmsford, and Law has named the following fourteen-man squad to face the Champions…
STEPHEN ESKINAZI (c)
JOHN SIMPSON (wk)