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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

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