Middlesex v Gloucs: Rain hits hopes at Lord’s
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The bad weather which has plagued Middlesex’s home fixtures so far this season returned with a vengeance on day two against Gloucestershire at Lord’s.
Only 26 overs were possible before rain arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled lunch interval and prevented any further play with Middlesex 455-8.
The morning session however did produce drama, notably when the hosts missed out on a fifth batting point after failing to score the four runs required from the last 15 balls of the 110 overs allocated for bonus points.
The near miss means the Lord’s tenants are now destined to go more than a year without collecting maximum batting points in the red-ball format.
Such a scenario appeared unlikely for much of the first hour as overnight batsmen John Simpson and James Harris accumulated runs with few alarms.
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However, with the promised land of 400 in sight, they inexplicably spluttered to a halt.
Harris (24) was first to perish. Aiming a shot to leg off Craig Miles, the former Glamorgan quick instead got a leading edge and ballooned a catch to Daniel Worrall at mid-off.
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Angus Fraser’s side were still strongly placed, but following a tight over from Ryan Higgins, Simpson (32) ratcheted up the tension another notch when he nicked a wide ball from Miles (2-85) into the gloves of wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick.
New batsman Tom Helm’s efforts to score the three runs needed from the final five balls foundered and despite a scrambled single off the last delivery they came up two runs short.
Relieved of the pressure of acquiring bonus points, Helm and Ollie Rayner found the freedom and fluency which had previously eluded them to share an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 58.
Rayner was especially forceful, pulling a short ball from spinner Graeme van Buren into the lower tier of the grandstand, before driving the next ball for four.
Helm joined in clubbing two fours off what proved to be the final over of the day.
After two defeats already this season, Middlesex, who declared at lunch, will be hoping the signs of up and down in the wicket will allow them to make early inroads into Gloucestershire’s top order tomorrow – assuming the weather gods ever relent.