Middlesex batsman sets his sights on regaining number three spot

13:00 19 June 2014


Middlesex's Joe Denly

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Joe Denly says he is determined to force his way back up the Middlesex batting order in the second half of the season.

Denly was dropped from the County Championship side after a poor run of form at the start of the campaign and, despite winning back a place in the team, he has been unable to reclaim his preferred no 3 slot.

The 28-year-old, who has been batting at five or six instead, admits he needs to weigh in with some sizeable scores very soon – and he hopes that will push him back into contention for his previous role.

“It was a tough period,” said Denly. “I didn’t get many runs in the pre-season friendlies and I didn’t have a great deal of confidence going into the season.

“Everyone starts the year with a clean slate and whoever scores runs early on is going to get the nod. Other people who had scored runs got selected and that was fair enough.

“Dawid Malan went up to three and he’s scored some runs. So have Eoin Morgan and Neil Dexter – so the only position left to come in was six and there’s still a lot of responsibility there, especially if you lose a couple of wickets early on.

“But it’s all about trying to score runs to get back up the order. I feel I owe it to the coaches and my team-mates to put in some big performances in the second half of the season and try and achieve that.

“I’ve almost gone back to just not thinking about things too much – it’s a case of doing the basics, watching the ball and playing it.”

As well as trying to move back up the order, Denly’s added incentive for amassing runs during the coming months is to help maintain Middlesex’s title challenge right to the end.

The former Kent batsman was part of the side that, last year, appeared to be in the running for the County Championship crown until their last few games, when they fell away and eventually finished fifth.

“We can’t look too far ahead,” added Denly. “Every team you come up against is very strong and it’s very tight up there – the top four or five are so close.

“People probably didn’t have Durham down as title contenders last year, but the run they went on in the second half of the season was incredible and once they got on a roll they couldn’t be stopped.

“We’ve got the team to do that – in my opinion we’ve got the best bowling attack in the country and we need to be consistent. There’s certainly belief in the team that we can do it.”

Denly struck an undefeated 98 to help Middlesex finally break their duck in the NatWest T20 Blast on Wednesday night as they beat Somerset by eight wickets at the Oval.

The Panthers, who had lost their first six games in the South group, restricted Somerset to 152-4 in their 20 overs before Denly and debutant Ryan Higgins (44 not out) saw them home with 17 balls to spare.

Latest Sport Stories

Mon, 07:03
Islington BC captain Jeff Ofori (right) will be in action on the club's latest show at the Boston Dome

Islington BC plan to give debuts to several fighters when they stage their first home show of the new season this week.

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Marta Corredera of Arsenal Ladies

Arsenal Ladies 3 Birmingham City Ladies 1

Thursday, October 8, 2015
John Ryder (right) in action against Nick Blackwell in ttheir British middleweight title fight at the O2 Arena in May

John Ryder’s trainer is hoping a new nutritional regime can revitalise the Islington star’s career as he prepares for his comeback fight this weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Arsenal Ladies' Jordan Nobbs battles with Kathleen Radtke of Manchester City Women (right) during the Gunners' 1-0 win in the Continental Cup

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs is determined to finish her frustrating season on a high by helping the Gunners to regain the Continental Cup.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Jordan Grannum (red shorts) defeats William Warburton at the Camden Centre. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo

Islington welterweight Jordan Grannum made a successful start to his professional career as he eased to a comfortable points win over William Warburton at York Hall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Highgate Harriers' Andy Maud. Pic: Dieter Perry

Andy Maud stole the show in only his second appearance for Highgate Harriers on Saturday, recording the best time of all the club runners at the National Six Stage Road Relays.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Mile End (dark blue) lost 3-1 to Shakespeare in the Hackney & Leyton Sunday League.

Mile End remain top of the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division despite losing 3-1 against a rejuvenated Shakespeare.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Judo player Luca Veras (left) with Sensei Basil Dawkins

Islington youngster Luca Veras claimed his third consecutive gold medal on Sunday since graduating to red belt level in the summer.

Most read sport


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

Amazon: Everything you want to buy all in one place!

With £1,500 to spend online at Amazon, there’s really nothing you can’t buy.

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder