Conditions at Uxbridge this week prompted serious questions about the wisdom of scheduling firstclass cricket at an out-ground in midSeptember.
There can be no criticism of the groundstaff who worked from 4.30am each morning in an attempt to allow play to start on time. But with fresh showers falling on a ground which had already experienced heavy rain over the last two weeks and with none of the modern drainage found at Lord’s, they faced an uphill battle.
The little play that was possible on day two hinted at a potential low-scoring, close contest. The wicket – unusually for Uxbridge – offered plenty of assistance for the bowlers and plenty of balls beat the bat. No further rain fell yesterday, but the ground was still too damp to allow any play before tea.
Given their respective positions in the table, Middlesex had far more to lose from the lost opportunity to force a result and must have felt fate was conspiring against them this week, the frustration evident among the squad. Hampshire, while still technically not safe from relegation, will be far happier with a draw than their opponents.
Just 12 months after winning the County Championship, Middlesex head back to Lord’s next week for what is now a must-win game against Lancashire. Ultimately though, their first division survival could come down to a straight shoot out with Somerset at Taunton in the final week of the season.
Scalps: Fidel Edwards