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BLACK HISTORY MONTH - DESMOND HAYNES

BLACK HISTORY MONTH - DESMOND HAYNES

In the first of four pieces for Black History Month, we take a look at Desmond Haynes and his highlights during his time with the county...

DESMOND HAYNES - MIDDLESEX 1989 to 1994

95 First-Class appearances – 7,071 runs @ 49.10

96 List-A appearances – 4,105 runs @ 48.86

Desmond Leo Haynes, or ‘Dessie’ as he was affectionately known, was born in Holders Hill, Barbados on 15th February 1956.

He joined Middlesex as the Club’s overseas player at the start of the 1989 season, having already long-established himself alongside Gordon Greenidge as one of the most formidable opening batting partnerships the West Indies Test side have ever seen. He made his List-A debut for Middlesex in a Benson & Hedges Cup match against Surrey at Lord’s on 13th May and made his First-Class debut for the Club just four days later against Hampshire at Lord’s

In the first of our series of features to celebrate Black History Month, we look back on Dessie’s finest moment in a Middlesex shirt, the game when he hit an unbeaten 255 against Sussex in a three-day Britannic Assurance County Championship encounter at Lord’s in August 1990.

It was a stand-out innings in what was a quite phenomenal season for the Bajan opener – the highest individual First-Class score of his career, in a season which yielded him 2,346 First-Class runs at an average of 69.00 and was one of eight First-Class centuries he hit for the Club that summer. Six of those centuries came in the County Championship, to which he added a further seven half-centuries, hitting over 2,000 Championship runs and helping Middlesex secure their first title since lifting the trophy in 1985.

Dessie came into the Sussex game uncharacteristically out of form, relatively speaking anyway, having recorded three ducks in his previous four matches, in games that Middlesex had failed to win. Despite this, Middlesex were unbeaten in their Championship campaign to this point, winning seven and drawing nine of their opening sixteen matches.

Sussex, conversely, were struggling at the bottom of the table, although with an opening attack comprising Tony Dodemaide - the skilful Australian quick, and Tony Pigott - the stalwart Sussex paceman, backed up by a talented young leg spinner by the name of Ian Salisbury, the visitors still posed plenty of threat with the ball.

From ball one however Haynes looked at his majestic best and by lunch on the opening day he had already brought up three figures of his own, incredibly hitting 102 in the morning session to go in for lunch unbeaten on 102.

As composed as Haynes looked at his end, things were looking far less comfortable at the other, as first Mike Roseberry, then Mike Gatting, and then Mark Ramprakash all fell, having made it into the twenties but each failing to go on.

The further loss of Keith Brown and Paul Downton for single figure scores and John Emburey for 14, made Haynes’ innings look all the more composed, as he just went on and on, paying little attention to the carnage unfolding at the other end.

By the end of the opening day, Middlesex had amassed a total of 385 for 6, with Haynes hitting 222 of them – almost 60% of the team’s runs.

Middlesex’s declaration came from skipper Mike Gatting by lunch on the second day, with Haynes having lost two more partners, with the score on 449 for 8, and Haynes leaving the field having hit his career highest score of 255*.

Whilst his innings had helped Middlesex to their highest total of the season to that point, it wasn’t enough to stop Sussex earning a draw in the game, as Middlesex’s unbeaten run was maintained. Three wins from Middlesex’s final five matches did however see them lift the Championship title, with Dessie finishing the season with over 500 runs more than any of his Middlesex teammates.

It was a stunning performance, one of 21 centuries the West Indian hit for the Club across the six seasons he spent at Lord’s.

Undoubtedly one of the finest overseas players to ever play for the Club, Middlesex Cricket owes Desmond Haynes a huge amount of gratitude.

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