Middlesex star aims to take momentum of Trent Bridge success into Lancashire clash
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Middlesex’s John Simpson says the County Championship leaders must carry the euphoria of their win over Nottinghamshire into their next game at Old Trafford.
Simpson struck the winning run at Trent Bridge to earn Middlesex a five-wicket victory that kept them one point ahead of defending champions Yorkshire with two matches remaining.
Middlesex travel to Lancashire for their penultimate game on Monday, while Yorkshire face third-placed Somerset before the top two clash in what promises to be a title showdown at Lord’s.
“We were under tremendous pressure and we always knew Notts were going to fight hard – they were in a relegation battle and we knew what was happening at Headingley as well,” said Simpson.
“But that’s cricket and to be in this situation is a fantastic achievement. We’ve got two big games coming up and let’s hope we can turn on the style at Old Trafford.
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“It’s going to be a tough four days because Lancashire are fighters – it’s in their nature and we’ve got to match that and more. We need to use the momentum of this game and hopefully get another good win up there.
“We’ll go there full of confidence. As a kid growing up, you dream of being in these situations and you’ve got to embrace them.”
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Resuming on 48-3 in pursuit of a 235 victory target at Trent Bridge, Middlesex weathered the early storm and, although Steve Eskinazi was dropped at first slip, Nick Compton looked nicely set.
Strike bowler Jake Ball was switched to the pavilion end and immediately persuaded Eskinazi (30) to nick a wide one into the gloves of Chris Read, but Compton and Simpson added 54 for the fifth wicket.
Compton, who was timing the ball well and drove Imran Tahir to the boundary to bring up his half-century, had reached 63 when he attempted a single on the leg side and was sent back by Simpson.
While the Middlesex batsman clearly felt he had made his ground, the umpire ruled that he had failed to beat Jake Libby’s throw to Read and, at 146-5, the pressure was back on the visitors.
But Simpson (58 not out) and skipper James Franklin (54no) rose to the task, batting sensibly and working the Nottinghamshire spinners around to good effect as they built an unbroken partnership of 89.
That sealed Middlesex’s success, keeping them on track for their first title since 1993 – and also confirmed Nottinghamshire’s relegation to Division Two in the process.