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

Michael Peart (yellow/black shorts) defeated Kristian Laight at York Hall. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo

Islington lightweight ‘Mustard’ Mike Peart made a successful step up to six rounds as he comfortably outpointed Kristian Laight on Saturday at York Hall.

Yesterday, 17:46
Islington BC's Simon Collins

Islington BC’s Simon Collins recovered from a difficult start to clinch victory against home boxer Joe Dennison on a Banbury ABC show on Saturday.

Yesterday, 17:38
Hanover Primary School's successful squad at the Islington Schools swimming gala

Four Hanover Primary School students secured gold medals as their girls’ team finished triumphant at the Islington Schools swimming gala finals.

Yesterday, 17:34
Bethune (blue) beat Young London Meteors 2-1 in the Dickie Davies Cup. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division leaders Mile End are through to the next round of the Dickie Davies Cup after their impressive 9-2 win over Riviera.

Yesterday, 17:27
Left to right: Luca, Liam and Luan Veras with their medals at the Belgium Open Kumite Championships. Back: their father and coach, Sensei Raphael Veras

Brothers Luan and Luca Veras both overcame strong competition to pick up gold medals at the International Belgium Open Kumite Championships in Leuven.

Yesterday, 16:02
Chris Rainsford (left) in action on the road for Highgate Harriers. Pic: Dieter Perry

Highgate Harriers were crowned national champions on Sunday as the prestigious UK 10k road race championships were held as part of the 30th anniversary of the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash.

Yesterday, 15:58
Great Britain's James Ward (far right) with Great Britain captain Leon Smith, Jamie Murray and Andy Murray

Great Britain stand on the verge of history in the Davis Cup as they prepare for this weekend’s final, bidding to win the crown for the first time in 79 years.

Yesterday, 11:30
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (left) celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game against Dinamo Zagreb. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Uche Amako says the club’s record signing is making the most of his peak years.

Most read sport


MAC Makeup

Achieve the look you want, effortlessly with MAC, find your perfect match foundations, concealers and powders, and create your individual look with gorgeous lipsticks, eye shadows, nail lacquers and liners in every shade you can imagine just by entering here.


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

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

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder