Middlesex have been forced to make changes to their squad for tomorrow's crucial Royal London Cup clash with Gloucestershire at Radlett, in the first of two must win games for the side.
Young all-rounder Luke Hollman withdraws from the squad, having tested positive when taking a Covid lateral flow test yesterday, and he will isolate now until the results of a PCR test confirm his situation. Max Harris, who has been named in all of Middlesex's Royal London Cup squads this year must also isolate, having been in close contact with Hollman, so he too misses out for the Gloucestershire clash tomorrow.
Middesex missed Hollman yesterday, as they saw their recent run of wins come to an end with defeat at the hands of Kent Spitfires, who turned the form table on it's head when securing their first win of their campaign, by 21 runs at Radlett.
It put an end to a three game unbeaten run for Middlesex, and leaves them needing to win both of their remaining two fixtures to give themselves any chance of progressing in the competition, and even then, they'll need to keep a close eye on results elsewhere and hope they go their way to ensure they seal a place in the knockout stages.
Yesterday's result puts an end to the Club's hopes of securing top spot and a home semi-final, however with the sides finishing second and third in the group entering a play-off match against the sides finishing in the same places in the other group, there's still everything to play for in the final two games of the Group-A campaign.
Hollman's withdrawal yesterday opened the door for young seamer Toby Greatwood to grab his opportunity, and he did so with both hands, bowling with accuracy and discipline, and looked very settled in his new surroundings in the first eleven, picking up two wickets on his professional debut.
His emergence is another high in what has ultimately been a disappointing season for the Club, however with so much young talent getting their opportunities this summer and not looking at all phased by the step up, there's plenty to be optimistic about looking forwards.
Another one who could get a chance in the Club's two remaining games is young Academy star Harry Seagrave, as the sixteen-year-old has been registered for the competition whilst Hollman is out of action, and his slow left arm spin adds something different with the ball. The Watford born local lad will be no stranger to Radlett, and will feel perfectly at home if he gets the nod to start tomorrow.
Middlesex will also be missing key man at the top of the order, Sam Robson, who has been in good form of late, yet is out of action as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury picked up in the Club's recent Royal London Cup win up at Old Trafford. All others named in the squad to face Kent yesterday retain their places.
Gloucestershire come to Radlett missing key men themselves tomorrow, with perennial thorn in Middlesex's side, Ian Cockbain, away on Hundred duties, with influential teammates Ryan Higgins and David Payne also absent for the clash with their respective Hundred sides. Their absence gives a very different look to the side visiting Radlett tomorrow, however with Gloucestershire sitting mid-table, with three wins and three losses from the six games they've played to date, they're still a dangerous white-ball side capable of beating anyone on their day.
Middlesex will need to focus on their goal, taking it one game at a time, and that must start tomorrow with a win at home, before they travel to Sussex next week for their final Group-A clash. It promises to be a thrilling encounter at Radlett, and one that Middlesex have to win to keep their hopes alive.
Middlesex have named the following squad for the clash:
Peter Handscomb (captain)
Josh De Caires
Robbie White (wicket-keeper)