Mop-up might’ve all been avoided
Jeremy Blackmore talks to a frustrated Middlesex captain as rain dampens their hopes of survival
Skipper James Franklin mucked in with mop-up operations at Uxbridge as Middlesex searched for enough time to salvage the points they urgently need to ensure first division survival.
Franklin voiced his frustration with the scheduling which meant Middlesex had to play this autumnal fixture at an outground, rather than Lord’s where more modern drainage facilities might have prevented so much of the first three days being lost after heavy showers.
With Lord’s unavailable due to the Test match, the weather had a significant impact, leaving a wet square and an even boggier outfield.
No play was possible on day one, but a tireless effort from the groundstaff, working around the clock using heatlamps and bringing in additional sheeting, ensured play could at least start on Wednesday before a further short, but torrential, downpour after lunch put paid to proceedings for the rest of the day and the following morning.
“It’s probably scratch your heads time,” said Franklin. “I know the schedule is the way it is with the Test match and the way that it worked out, we’re having to play a home game away from our main ground. I don’t know of too many other counties who play out-ground cricket in September.”
Franklin said it would be unfair to point the finger at anyone for the delays: “It’s not a professional sports ground. When you go to a lot of out-grounds the resources are not what they are at Test grounds. They’ve done the best they can with the resources that they have available. We’ve just copped it with the weather and been really unfortunate with the amount of water that has come down.”
For Hampshire, former captain Jimmy Adams took over the reins at the 11th hour after James Vince picked up a hamstring niggle during the warm-up.
“Captaincy is something I probably did feel was behind me, but needs must and hopefully it’s an enjoyable few days,” he said.
“There are times where it’s a frustrating thing to do, but it’s nice as a one-off.”
Frustrated: Middlesex captain James Franklin was left down in the dumps after little play was possible at Uxbridge