One of the unexpected pleasures of being a blogger, and some could say it’s a challenge, is that you can start each post with absolutely no idea what you’re going to write about or how it’s going to end up. Today could be one of those days when I have no idea!
So, here goes…fine weather for Spring and the (relatively) local choice of Lords or the Oval. Middlesex/Gloucester at the former (div 2) or Surrey/Yorkshire at the latter (div 1) – Northern line or Circle line?
Plumped for Lords – ok, the Oval is nice but Lords in the Spring (or any season) is the best place in the world to watch cricket. Under the Morton Bay fig trees at the Adelaide Oval is a close second but this is the place!
The Pavilion is heaving – the first day is always the best attended for some reason – but it’s especially busy today. Perhaps the lack of cricket here so far this season, the lack of Championship games here over the next few weeks, the attractiveness of playing Gloucestershire for once, or the possible imploding of the Middlesex season on the near horizon? Who knows?
After 30 mins Middlesex have made 39 without loss, the occasional blip but so far so good. The pitch has a tinge of green and looks like a good batting pitch but we shall see.
After an hour Middlesex progress to 69/0. There’s more life in the pitch bowling from the Pavilion end which seems to have slowed the scoring rate from close to 6 an over to 4.5 – still quite quick.
By Monday evening over a third of the first class games for this season will have been played – the new way of things! So we can start to read how the season is progressing and could progress for teams. Middlesex were expected at the start of the season to bounce back into the first division but after four games so far they’ve had one draw (rain affected match v Glamorgan), a win against Northants who seem to be well off the pace this season and probably the side everyone will beat, and two losses away to Derbyshire (their first win in years) and to Sussex when there was a good chance of winning it themselves. Mid table is ok but the risks of going on either direction are great. Hence it’s important for a win here this weekend and a good batting performance to boot. The bowlers have done well but the batting has yet to get out of first gear…perhaps this is the game to change that and looking at the batting order – including a rare appearance by one E Morgan – it should deliver! Let’s see!
Ninety minutes into the first session and the first wicket falls – Robson for a pleasant 36 – and the 100 approaches. Gloucestershire seem an ‘ok’ side so far, nothing spectacular but then, as we’ve seen before- what do I know?
Lunch and Middlesex reach 121/1. From what’s been seen so far, bat sensibly and the runs will flow, Gloucestershire pace attack looking very second division!
Half way (time wise) through the afternoon and Gubbins falls for 99, seemingly sailing towards his ton but undone by the Aussie Worrall who has all three wickets to fall as Middlesex reach 186/3 and that rarest of all sights…Morgan in whites playing a first class match; his first since?
Can anyone find the ball?
At tea Middlesex reach 258/3 with Malan gliding towards a 50 whilst Morgan looks like a one day player trying to play a four day match; he’s scratching around but staying there. As for the Gloucestershire bowling…too wayward, straying down the leg side too much and generally lacking consistency.
Gubbins as he goes for 99
Morgan falling into the shot
Malan playing with a straight bat!
As the day progresses, cloud cover builds and there’s a noticeable drop in temperatures as the wind picks up adding a premium to some seats in the lee. The ball is doing little as the seam and swing conditions arrive and Middlesex make steady progress beyond 300 – they’ve already doubled the batting points for the season to date!
What will the new ball bring as the lights come on? It’s bad enough to stop play south of the river but they’re made of sterner stuff here!
Well, the new ball did the trick with three wickets – Malan and Morgan made 76 each and each out lbw, but Middlesex make 356/6 in the day and have the edge I would suggest but as we’ve seen before…I often have no idea!