RAYNER PLAYS THROUGH THE PAIN BAR­RIER

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - JON BATHAM by tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @el­lis_red

OL­LIE RAYNER has vowed to bowl through the pain bar­rier to help en­sure Mid­dle­sex’s Di­vi­sion One sur­vival.

A trou­ble­some knee in­jury meant Rayner’s ap­pear­ance in last week’s Lon­don derby with Sur­rey at The Oval was his first for the tenants of Lord’s in more than seven weeks.

Surgery is planned for the end of the sea­son.

Un­til then, the off-spin­ner hopes a se­ries of al­beit in­creas­ingly in­ef­fec­tive in­jec­tions can help him play a part in keep­ing last sea­son’s cham­pi­ons safe from the drop this time around.

Speak­ing prior to this week’s clash with York­shire at Head­ingly, Rayner told The Gazette: “Ba­si­cally I’ve got a tear in the car­ti­lage of my knee.

“I’ve got to go and have it all cleaned out at the end of the sea­son, so hope­fully I’ll get through the last four games.

“The in­jec­tions are last­ing for less and less time as the sea­son goes on, so if I get all four games in I’ll be over the moon.”

“I just want to get back to how I was bowl­ing last year and at the start of this. If I get any­where close to that hope­fully I will be al­right for the runin.

“It’s all about get­ting into a good rhythm, keep­ing the pres­sure on and help­ing the lads in any way I can.”

The 31–year-old ac­knowl­edged the in­jury has been chal­leng­ing men­tally as well as phys­i­cally.

He ad­mits there is no guar­an­tee he would have been part of the club’s T20 plans even if he had been 100 per cent, but says the com­bi­na­tion of the cricket sched­ule and be­ing on the side-lines has meant he has in­evitably found him­self on the out­side look­ing in.

“It seems like I’ve been out for a longer pe­riod than I ac­tu­ally have be­cause of the T20 block, which I don’t think, even if the knee was al­right, I would have been a part of any­way,” he added.

“But I like to tell peo­ple it was be­cause of the knee so I don’t dam­age my ego too much.

“I’m not going to lie though, the sched­ule is re­ally hard be­cause if you are not play­ing you are out of the team en­vi­ron­ment.

“The T20 is a to­tally dif­fer­ent team and if you are out of it, al­though we are one squad, you are on the fringes very much so.

“That is noth­ing against the coaches at all be­cause there is not an aw­ful lot they can do in terms of that. It is just the na­ture of the beast and they have been great with me up un­til now, so hope­fully I can re­pay them and get the bowl­ing back to where it was be­fore the knee was bad.”

Ol­lie Rayner will go un­der the knife at the end of the sea­son

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