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From Champs to Chumps
BarmierKev (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 09:05
With gap in fixtures I'm reflecting on our decline and why this has happened. We won the league 2016 and now we are struggling in division 2.

I put it down to complacency. Certainly winning the league involved a degree of luck and i was hoping we would strengthen our team to consolidate, which we didn't. Going down involved some bad luck but at the end of the day the table doesn't lie. Having been relegated, the thinking seemed to be put in some youngsters , not play some experience players and we can walk this division. Unfortunately this not the case and we will do well to finish in top half.

Meanwhile our white ball form continues to be mediocore at best.

Any further comments?

Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 21/07/2018 07:56 by BarmierKev.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
adelaide (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 10:38
One point about 2016 is that young players seemed able to come in and thrive immediately. everyone contributed and it was a genuinely collective effort. I don't get that impression any more and it is quite a striking contrast to most other counties, including Surrey OK, it's easier to succeed in a successful team, but some of the success that year came before became front runners. We really need some of them to kick on. I get a bit peeved at Kevin Hand consistently telling us how highly rated Tom Helm is, for example, but he is not really putting the figures together yet.

The rush of Kolpaks has helped some counties strengthen at probably not much cost, as we found when we came up against Derbyshire. I'm actually quite pleased we didn't go down that route but I didn't think the effect would be so marked.


Re: From Champs to Chumps
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 11:19
Going down?
Well,I'm not going to go on about the crossbow,or the Essex non-follow on.
Let's look at the over-rate to start with,how many times did members bang on about it at forums,to committee members and get told it's being delt with?Was it? No,is my answer.That is a good point of us going down,along with maybe some complacency in the squad?
Before this season,we were told Youth will be given a chance,or words like that,not really happened,unless you include the players we let go!
This season?
Div 2 was never going to be a walk in the park we thought it would be,watching games,it appears to a few of us that something just isn't right in the squad,what it is,we probably won't find out.Its ok saying Richard Scott leaving might be a pointer,but,the players must be part of this,things just 'don't seem right'
Look at Leicester,was if day 2 or 3 where we just looked so dis-jointed, I didn't see the Kent mess,so can't comment on that.
White Ball?
Can't say much really!

It has been a bit of a downward spiral since mid last season,something is wrong,something needs to be done to correct what is wrong.
We all feel the pain in what is going on.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
snicko (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 15:46
Chill out everyone - and before I get shot down by the prophets of doom,I will set out my rationale as follows:-

Firstly (and most imortantly), professional sport moves in cycles. Middlesex transitioned under Gus from a mediocre 2nd division side into Championship winners, following successful years in finishing 2nd and 3rd. We’ve been relegated and thus the process of rebuilding a squad capable of future success must recommence. This process takes 2-3 years of backing home grown talent and supplementing deficiencies with astute signings.

If we look at other Counties who enjoyed similar success, they’ve all experienced downturns whilst rebuilding sides. Championship winners like Yorkshire, Notts, Warwickshire and even Durham have struggled and even been relegated. Others like Sussex and Hampshire and Surrey have all been through the cycle.

Panic, does not bring solutions. A level of understanding of where we’re at as a club is paramount to where we want to be as a club.

There is a journey to embark on, some will enjoy the ride and others will fall by the wayside into a sea of self flagelation. Supporting a club through bad times is part and parcel of sport.

Accept it is part of a cycle and stop whinging, it’s at times like this that a club needs it’s supporters.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
dingy bags (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 16:15
In 2016, the structure of the season was different. Come August, not only were we in contention in the CC but we were through to the Qfinals in T20 and still live in 50 over lark (to be stitched up by the presence of the Sky cameras).

I really did think that we were entering an era where we would be challenging for things every year.

All that has gone.

I think there has been some complacency about how good we are but also, too many people seem to be assured of a place come what may. Meanwhile, good cricketers leave and thrive elsewhere.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
Fozzie (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 16:25
This has seemed a rather stop-start season, kicking off with Dawid's unavailability and the absence of Gubbo, Finny and Eoin due to injury, followed by the blow of losing Toby for the season. But we have a large and experienced squad to cope with circumstances like that. James Harris took his chance, but in truth only he and Tim Murtagh have been unqualified successes this season.

The treatment of Compton has been strange. I could understand the desire to give Max an opportunity at his expense, but given the number of absentees among the batsmen at the start of the season I would have thought it was an ideal chance for Gus to say to Compo "OK, go out and prove me wrong". Perhaps that did point to complacency, and maybe our opener against Northants (who delivered one of the poorest performances I've seen by a county) confirmed any feeling that this season would be a stroll.

I think that the time for Richard Scott to go had come, but essentially because every coach probably has a shelf-life and he seemed to have run out of inspiration. But I don't think it will lead to any immediate improvement, nor do I think he is primarily responsible for our poor results. This is an experienced squad, and I don't think Scott can be blamed for Robbo's dreadful run of form, or Simmo's failure to reach 40 in any Championship innings, or Ollie and Finny propping up the bowling averages.

On the long-running issue of over rates, I recall a conversation with Neil Dexter in 2015, his last season with us. I remarked on how frustrated the supporters felt about the matter, and he made it clear how frustrated he also felt, saying how irritated he and Ollie felt at regularly being brought on to bowl primarily to give the over rate a boost. The impression I got was that the club's abiding attitude was that it was in control of the situation and could sort it out whenever necessary. I think that's called hubris.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 19:03
Professional sport may move in cycles, but I know that a lot of Middlesex supporters were hopeful that the 2016 County Championship title would be the start of an era whereby we consistently finished high in division one of the Championship, reached the latter stages of limited-overs competitions, and ideally win some more silverware. Instead, it has turned out to have marked the end of an era, at least with regards to our Championship performances. I was confident that we would have been capable of winning the title in 2017, but the fact we got relegated that year and will only get promoted this season if something dramatic happens means that challenging for the title in 2020 seems a push.

At the 2017 post-season forum (I think it was), Angus Fraser suggested that our fall from champions to relegation was due to our players naturally being at a different stage of their lives compared to in 2016 as a result of factors such as having received international call-ups, having got married or their partner having given birth. I suppose that I can understand how those life events can affect a player's interest in playing for Middlesex or their energy levels, but it felt like a strange thing for Gus to say, especially as I have never heard anything similar said before in the sporting world.

The worst thing is that we are performing worse in division two than in division one. In 2017, we would have finished joint-4th with two more points or outright 4th with three more points, which was within the realms of possibility considering we lost two points for Arrowgate and I think there were a couple of occasions we missed out on achievable bonus points. In 2018, I was hopeful that our players would have wished to demonstrate why they believe they should be playing in division one, and wished to do well as a way of apology to our supporters, but that has barely happened.

I actually support our strategy of phasing out the likes of Nick Compton, James Franklin and Ollie Rayner. However, I can't really say that we have given opportunities to youngsters who have done well.

Ideally, we should have made some signings in the months after the 2016 and/or 2017 seasons. However, signing domestic players is easier said than done, as there aren’t many quality out-of-contract players around, while the process of signing an in-contract player is complicated and usually involves having to pay compensation to the other county. As has already been said, an alternative is going down the Kolpak route.

A lot of people believe that cricket should have a football-style transfer system whereby a county can buy an in-contract player from another county. This would allow counties like Leicestershire to receive the financial benefits they probably deserve for often producing quality players, and it would give an opportunity for the counties with money to spend to get whichever players they want. Maybe it would benefit Middlesex.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
middleman (IP Logged)
10 July, 2018 22:46
Having not posted on here for ages I thought I would put my thoughts on our poor season so far.

Actually yesterday having missed out on a lot of cricket so far this season I made my way to Radlett to see the Second 11 double header versus Essex. The contrast between the two matches was enlightening in respect to the current Middlesex approach.

In the first match Middlesex lacked any real intensity in their fielding and gifted Essex at least 20/30 runs eg ones became twos. When it came to the batting it just needed someone to stay with Holden and we might have got home. Too many glory shots.

By the time of the second match James Harris had arrived. Words had clearly been spoken at the break and with both Harris's enthusiasm and a much greater intensity in the field Essex were actually bowled out within the allotted 20 overs. We won the second match comfortably.

The question really is why the difference in approach. Well in my humble opinion it comes down to failure to enthuse the team from the beginning of the day. The captain or manager has a role to ensure that everyone is on song from the off. You cannot expect to win at sport without being properly motivated to give of your best and also to have the desire and hunger to want to do so. That applies equally to both players and management.

The question is do the current Middlesex management still have within them the necessary desire to motivate the team to play to their potential or have they all become comfortable in their roles and that initial desire to create and improve has gone with the passing of time.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
11 July, 2018 22:40
Whilst I agree professional sport moves in cycles and certain teams have a period of time at the top and in the case of cricket are successful for a period of time in all formats of the game. Unfortunately in our case we had one good season in one format of the game, a season where everything came together (very similar to Leicester in the PL) - luck was on our side as was the weather - players played above expectations - and the final game ended with the unusual scenario where a team agreed to bat to the death in their chase for runs and the title.
There is something not right with the way the club is run from the ridiculous Compton situation which baffles everyone to the poor choice of overseas players through to the loss of both influential and young players (Berg & Higgins)
From the games I have seen this season it looks a classic case of players turning up to pick up their wages (with the obvious exceptions in the bowling dept.)there seems to be no desire from any batsmen to get their heads down and build an innings and the standard of fielding has been particularly poor.
Its time to rebuild the club and carry out a complete overhaul of management and players and this starts at the top with Gus who I appreciate has been a loyal Middlesex servant but is not taking us anywhere.We have a choice of plodding on as we are making up the numbers in all competitions for the next few years or trying something radical which if unsuccessful would not leave us in a worse position than we are at present

Re: From Champs to Chumps
wembleylion (IP Logged)
12 July, 2018 10:32
Agree with all that, the loss of form of many of our players is very worrying. Something has to be done quickly. Some people thought Scott should not have gone but, based on results, if this were a football club he and most of the management and backroom staff would, rightly or wrongly, probably have been moved out long ago. A thorough review from top to bottom and a completely new broom is needed to sort this out. Is the Board up to the challenge?

Re: From Champs to Chumps
Defcon1 (IP Logged)
13 July, 2018 08:12
Apart from all else, where is the consistency in our team line-up these days? There are injuries and loss of form, but players have their focus diluted across so many competitions and formats – domestic and international - they barely know who or what they're turning out for or where they're travelling the next day. It seems to me we have a lot of players in that category. And maybe it's not surprising they take their eye off the ball in CC when the they can see that game is being trivialised by the powers that be. As for consistency in captaincy, well, whatever happened to that? It's never the same guy two games running that's for sure. Today, at the drop of a hat, our leader is just as likely to be requisitioned to carry out the drinks for England in some obscure T20 game.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
13 July, 2018 10:48
There has been drift complacency baffling selection and poor recruitment but we have failed to address a core weakness - the absence of an all rounder to bat at number 7 and average 30 and come on 2nd change and bowl a consistent 20 overs a day. Dare I say a Gareth Berg. Until we have someone like that we will not improve and we can forget limited overs challenges.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
Seaxe_Man (IP Logged)
13 July, 2018 11:37
We did have someone like that FT - Ryan Higgins - but like others shunted off elsewhere.

Spin also largely ignored as an option, though there has been some resurrection recently which the dry weather has assisted.

Watched Essex leftarmer yesterday (with assistance) in 2's match at Uxbridge, keep the game alive until 5.40 with MX 9 wickets down but with a cushion of 90 runs to make a draw.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
13 July, 2018 12:03
If everyone had performed we wouldn't be talking about needing new recruits.

Usual story- people want to play (hence Higgins and Podmore plying their trade elsewhere)

If you overload with too many 'big names' who all expect to play that just creates a different problem. Like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it, whoever isn't playing will want to leave, so you never get strong reserves that way.

The strong reserves have to be the up and coming ones from the academy. When we won the championship it was because Eskinazi got promoted from the 2's, and was instantly up to the task. If he hadn't been, we wouldn't have won it.

Yorkshire fans are forever complaining how good they would be if they had Root and Bairstow all the time, but they haven't, because your best eleven won't win you anything, but your best sixteen, or seventeen might. But, you will constantly have a 'revolving door' where the four who consider themselves 'accomplished stand-ins' will be looking to move elsewhere for a permanent place.

You could say it is the academy that has dried up, because in the recent past it has given us Gubbins, Eskinazi* Higgins, Helm and Podmore, but at the moment bar Holden,there are no
obvious nailed on certainties to develop in to first team players.

*Eski may not have come through our age group system, but he was an 'unknown' when we signed him, and spent a couple of years learning his trade in the seconds.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
16 July, 2018 13:01
Well, at least we can't be relegated this season. But seriously: while it is easy to moan, and good form cannot be eternal, you know something is deeply wrong when the fielding is poor. And it has been disappointing this season. I'm not expecting a turnaround in the final two months of the season, but I am hoping for some blood, sweat and toil. By this I mean spirited rearguard actions by the team, and perhaps some judicious winnowing of staff by the club. The club needs to show it's not as complacent as we fear and that it really cares. That's all I'm asking for.

Re: From Champs to Chumps
wembleylion (IP Logged)
17 July, 2018 11:48
"Judicious winnowing", what brilliant words and entirely appropriate (I had to Google "winnow").

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