Having fought so hard and having showed plenty of application on the last two days of their four-day game in Cheltenham this week to make Gloucestershire really earn their victory in the final session of the game, Middlesex can rightly take some confidence from their performance this week into tomorrow's Vitality Blast clash against Gloucestershire.
It's the resolve and character Head Coach Stuart Law has been calling for all season from his batsmen and whilst his middle order got the side into a position where the draw seemed a distinct possibility at tea on the final day, the lower order and tail again fell short. Law names a squad of thirteen for the clash starting at 2.30pm, eight of whom played in the Championship match this week.
Those eight are Martin Andersson, Josh De Caires, Blake Cullen, Stephen Eskinazi, Daryl Mitchell, Sam Robson, Nathan Sowter and Robbie White, and they can rightly take some positives from their side's spirited fightback week, albeit it ultimately proving to not be enough to see them recover from an horrific second day when they were rolled far too easily for just 101.
Eskinazi's incredible form with the bat in the Vitality Blast this year continued with the red-ball this week, as his hundred was right at the heart of Middlesex's battling performance, showing plenty of grit and determination to hit 102 off 300 balls, whilst Daryl Mitchell, making his first-class debut for the Club, also shone, showing his all-round class and experience by taking six wickets in the match and hitting 73 of 247 balls in Middlesex's second innings, putting on 145 with Eskinazi for the fourth wicket. All that patience and stoicism will be parked tomorrow however, as a more swashbuckling style of batting is adopted for the Blast.
For Josh De Caires, who made his first-class debut for the Club this week, it's his first time being named in a Middlesex Vitality Blast squad, and having performed so well for the Second Eleven in the T20 format this year, with both bat and ball, his inclusion is definitely merited.
Joining them in the thirteen man squad are Captain Steven Finn, Joe Cracknell, Max Holden, Luke Hollman and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
With the ever present John Simpson being removed from the squad, having been called up by England for their replacement squad for the ODI series against Pakistan, the wicket-keeping duties will fall to either Joe Cracknell or Robbie White, which Law will make a call upon tomorrow.
Middlesex's last encounter in the Blast was a frustrating affair last Friday night, where heavy rain at the end of their clash with Somerset cost them dearly, as once again they were undone by the vagaries of the DLS calculation, losing by single figures on a DLS revised target for the second time this season.
That latest loss effectively put an end to Middlesex's outside chances of making a late charge for the knockout places in the South Group, with a myriad of other results now needing to go their way, and also leaves them needing to win all three remaining games for there to be any chance, although all Law's side can do is influence their own fortunes and that must start tomorrow with a win against Gloucestershire.
Despite that DLS loss to Somerset, which saw Middlesex cheated of the chance to secure another crucial win, they've been in good form in the Blast of late, picking up five points in the three previous encounters, and if the weather gods had been smiling on them in Taunton, they could well have made that seven in four, and would be heading into this one with genuine hopes of qualification.
For now, a win tomorrow afternoon will keep them in it, mathematically so anyway, and then it's fingers crossed that results elsewhere tomorrow night fall in their favour.
Middlesex's thirteen man squad for tomorrow's clash is as follows:
Steven Finn (captain)
Josh De Caires
Joe Cracknell (wk option)
Mujeeb ur Rahman
Robbie White (wk option)