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RIP JT Murray Middlesex legend


dingy bags (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 21:28
Looking more likely than not this evening. We seem to have sleepwalked into this.

Re: Relegation?
14 September, 2017 21:56
"Ohhh,miss,Dingy mentioned the "R" word !!!!

Unlike the "C" word last season this must be allowable as it is more likely to happen though.

Not for want of trying in this game to the extent of Gus and various first eleven players assisting in putting on/taking off covers etc we shot ourselves in the foot many games ago with a very laise faire attitude that everything would be ok,well sorry folks it won't be.

If you like grounds with character rather than souless concrete bowls there might yet be a bright side to this very poor title defense,div 2 here we come.

Re: Relegation?
selincourt (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 22:27
Should Yorkshire lose tomorrow, they would obtain only 5 bonus points. Middlesex will obtain at least five points for the draw plus any bonus points. So all is not yet lost.

Re: Relegation?
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
14 September, 2017 22:54
There was an inevitability that two teams who started the season believing they could win the title and/or who were tipped to challenge for the title would end up being relegated considering the eight teams in division one all have strong players and 25% of the division go down. As a consequence, Middlesex were always at risk at being relegated. There have been plenty of occasions in the history of the County Championship when the defending champions have had a poor season, but whereas that wouldn’t have been damaging in the days of one division, nowadays a bad season can be very costly.

The current match v Hampshire at Uxbridge is our third since the end of the Twenty20 competition, and they have all seen us suffer due to a mixture of bad luck and self-inflicted wounds. We should really have taken three more points than we did from the match v Surrey at The Oval, as we wouldn’t have been deducted two points had circumstances been different, while we fell 3 runs short of a second batting point. However, in saying that, our first innings total of 247 and one batting point was more than looked likely when we were 163-7. Our two subsequent matches have both been heavily rain-effected, which has reduced our opportunities to earn bonus points then try to win.

However, a lot of the damage was done in the months before. Maybe we should have brought some players in last winter, although I am not sure what positions needed strengthening, and I can’t think of any quality players who were on the market last winter. Surely we will make some signings this winter. Once the season started, the set of players that won the 2016 title failed to quite hit the heights of last season, which Angus Fraser told attendees at the mid-season forum was due to those players being at a different stage of their career, which was a reference to the fact certain players can become affected by being a champion and/or being linked with an international call-up. I suppose those factors can affect a player’s performance.

Apart from absolutely thrashing Yorkshire at Lord’s, there hasn’t been a great deal to shout about this season. Our performances in our two matches v Warwickshire were below-par considering they have lost 8 of their 12 matches. At Edgbaston, we were very close to losing and thus now finding ourselves in a far worse position, although thankfully we won. At Lord’s, we not only became the only side to lose to them, but we were thrashed, and that result has proven costly. Another area where we should have been better was our two matches v Essex, as we should have beaten them at Lord’s by enforcing the follow-on, and we would have got a draw at Chelmsford had we performed a few shades better or simply held on for the draw.

Regardless of what happens around the country tomorrow, our performances in our final two matches will have to be somewhere around the level of the performances that won us the 2016 title, otherwise we would be in mighty trouble.

If we stay up, I believe we could get our act together, challenge for the 2018 title, and hopefully have a spell during which we win a few trophies, especially if we make some signings. Therefore, relegation could set us back a few years. If we go down, our best hope of getting promoted at our first attempt would be by staying professional and avoid thinking that we have a God-given right to be in division one.

Re: Relegation?
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 04:37
here i am,holiday in America,and all I can think of is the end of the season.
The whole season could come down to Taunton,a repeat of two years ago up at Lancashire.
To be honest,im glad not to be watching!
The point deduction has already been covered,but what about other games?
Essex at home,when we didn't enforce the follow on?
Lancashire at Southport?
Warwickshire at home and away?
Not been the season we expected,this time last year is a long,distant memory now.

What else to say?
As we have said before..BATTLE.

Re: Relegation?
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 07:46
Quite a few people have suggested we should have strengthened last winter.

Hindsite is wonderful. On the face of it, no strengthening was needed.

Batsmen- Robson, Gubbins, Comptom, Eskinazi, Malan, Voges, (only 5 out of 6 to play normally) Stirling. Higgins, Holden all vying for opportunities if we needed to go outside that six.

Wicket keeper- Simpson, no problem.

Spinners- Rayner, Sowter, Patel. Ollie good enough to have made some Lions tours. Most times only one spinner plays, so again those 3 look alright.

Seam/Pace Finn, Murtagh, Roland-Jones, Harris, Helm, Back up Podmore and Fuller.

And somewhere in the team the bits and pieces captain Franklin.

How were we meant to strengthen? Players want to play. I can't get a proven 30 year old who would be willing to just play a handful of games if any of the above had a poor season. Why would you sign an extra batsman, (who on the face of it would hardly ever get a game) in case Gubbins, and Compton didn't do as well as expected? Because if they had done as well as last year you would be paying big bucks to someone who would hardly ever get a game (it's taken until this week to get Holden in the side)

It's actually the bowling figures that are a bit below par, and 20 wickets, and good weather, win you matches

We had more poor weather than anyone else in April, and those rain affected draws when Essex got out of the blocks quickly seemed to sap our enthusiasm.

If we go down, not enforcing follow on against Essex, and current venue not being able to cope with the rain (depriving us of bonus points) will probably be the difference between us going down, and staying up.

Unless anyone retires early, major changes are 12 months away, as Compton, Franklin, and Murtagh are all contracted until then.

Malan, Morgan and Higgins current deals expire in a few weeks.

Re: Relegation?
tallliman (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 10:27
Lanky and Notts (twice) were both relegated the season after winning the championship so its not uncommon.

If we'd beaten Essex, one wonders how different the season would've panned out. Sometimes that early victory or battle against the odds really binds the team together. At the time, not enforcing the follow on felt right to me to be honest but didn't work out in the end.

More telling I think has been the disruption caused by injuries and international calls. It just doesn't feel like we've had a settled side at any stage.

Re: Relegation?
Fozzie (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 11:06
I felt neutral about the decision not to enforce the follow-on against Essex, but I was very disappointed at the way we filled our boots in the 2nd innings so as to leave a target of 450 in about 100 overs, with the weather forecast making it probable that we would actually have rather less than that. That seemed hugely cautious against a team that was never going to try to chase such a target, but which has shown grit and resolve in barring through the final day to save their opening fixture. In retrospect, that match against Essex seems to have been a decisive point in the season for both clubs.

I agree that injuries and international calls have been disruptive, but I think Dingy had it right in his opening post - we have sleepwalked into this position.

Re: Relegation?
selincourt (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 16:24
Surrey let us down. Watched them on Wednesday piling up the runs. They don't know when to declare. They are third in the table having only won one game.
I share the view that the Essex home match was the key to the season. Complacency and lack of ambition.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 15/09/2017 19:38 by selincourt.

Re: Relegation?
Haringey Racer (IP Logged)
15 September, 2017 16:44
Did we change the fitness approach over the winter? I can't remember so many hamstrings and calf muscles going in a single season.

As for the bowling I can't help thinking of our 'star-studded middle order' of the pre-Gus era that never actually made any runs. Now we have a string of highly talented seamers that doesn't bowl sides out. And I don't fancy the chances of our 'spin' attack at Taunton.

Re: Relegation?
Seaxe_Man (IP Logged)
18 September, 2017 14:50
Should the thread subject come about. The failure to take the opportunity to defeat Essex at Lords back in April has to be the benchmark.

This was one of the few games in which we were in control with a first innings credit of 211 runs.

Given the expected weather on Monday which turned out to be correct, and we are not able to use the floodlights. We needed to maximise time.

Best option. Enforce the follow on. Second. Declare earlier. Failing to do either,led to a
draw which should have been a win and eleven points tossed out of the window.

It also gave them momentum and seems likely, slowed ours.

Essex members have said. They breathed a sigh of relief when follow on was not enforced.

They closed on 160 for 8 or thereabouts, well short of the follow on deficit.

Performances v Lancashire at Southport and Warwickshire at Lords didnt help.

Re: Relegation?
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
18 September, 2017 15:08

I concur re Essex match.

Vettori appointment for T20 may have inadvertently caused disharmony.

Because Rayner, Patel and Harris, who would normally have expected to play some T20 were locked out of the first team for weeks (I understand Ollie might have been injured some of the time) and Podmore only got one T20 outing. I realise Vettori needed freedom to pick his own team, but lock people out of the first team for weeks on end, and you run the danger some might want to leave.

And, sadly (because I'm sure he's a top bloke who does his best) having a captain who shouldn't be an automatic pick when everyone is available unbalances the team.

Gus doesn't get much wrong, but we should never have dispensed with the Iceman.

Re: Relegation?
19 September, 2017 06:52
^ or Dex,both of whom offered options with bat and ball in all three formats.

Re: Relegation?
MiddleToWest (IP Logged)
19 September, 2017 11:15
I'm not there but why did we choose to bat first? By opting for a toss Lancashire must have wanted to do the same. I normally follow Dr Grace's dictum but I'm sure he wasn't talking about mid September.

Re: Relegation?
Fozzie (IP Logged)
19 September, 2017 15:27
No idea why we batted first, or why Lancs would have wanted to. The wicket looks pretty green, and batting was very difficult this morning.

A somewhat funereal atmosphere at Lord's this morning, livened up by TRJ and Ollie this afternoon. It could yet be a pretty useful score.

Re: Relegation?
20 September, 2017 07:00
The tectonic plates at Lord's are coming apart (Mike goes on honeymoon and the place literally falls to pieces) so neither skipper wanted to bat last on it.

Fortunately the coin fell Adam's way when it came to choose though as he said in the evening "I thought different when we were 28/3 " We all did skip but as the pitch eased Ollie and TRJ made a go of it to dig us out of a relegation hole.

Re: Relegation?
BarmierKev (IP Logged)
22 September, 2017 08:11
I'm Surrey till Fri die

Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

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