RAYNER PLAYS THROUGH THE PAIN BARRIER
MIDDLESEX STAR ROBSON CONFIDENT RELEGATION WILL BE AVOIDED
SAM ROBSON remains confident Middlesex can bring their 2016 Championship-winning qualities to the relegation scrap ahead over the next two weeks.
A weather-ruined draw with Hampshire at Uxbridge last week saw Robson and co slip into the bottom two and therefore the relegation places ahead of the match with Lancashire, which began at Lord’s yesterday (Tuesday).
It is all in stark contrast to 12 months ago when many of the same players were celebrating lifting Middlesex’s first County Championship crown in 23 years.
Nevertheless, the Aussieborn right-hander believes those same qualities that clinched that title in so dramatic a fashion can come to the fore amid a five-way battle for safety and an altogether different kind of pressure this time around.
“It is going to be a big couple of weeks for us,” he said.
“We are near the bottom and we are scrapping, so we are going to have to play well the next few weeks to pull everything out of them that we can.
“We have got a good squad with a lot of quality players. We won the Championship less than a year ago, so I’ve got no doubt we can string a couple of good performances together.”
Events at Uxbridge last week have made the tenants of Lord’s task all the tougher.
Heavy rain leading up to the game got under the covers, affecting the bowlers’ run-ups in particular, and further bad weather over the four days meant only a little over 100 overs in total were possible.
The Test match at Lord’s the previous week forced the former champions onto their leading club ground, but in hindsight skipper James Franklin believes this is a situation to be avoided in future.
“Having to play outground cricket in September wasn’t ideal,” he said.
“I don’t know many other counties who would play out-ground cricket in September. Most of it is played in June and July when weather is more likely to be set fair and drainage and ground staff at those out-grounds can survive better.
“It is something to reflect on in the off season.”
Sam Robson says Middlesex’s quality should shine through