Steady Line: Middlesex cricket column with Toby Roland-Jones

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones - Credit: Archant

Naturally we’re all gutted that we didn’t go further in the T20 – but it’s important to reflect on the campaign as a whole and see the positives of it.

From where we’ve been over the last few years, there’s certainly a progression and the hard work the guys have put in is paying off. With that said, the defeat at Northampton shows us we’ve got a lot of room for improvement as well.

For a lot of guys, this was the first knockout tie they’d been involved in and, as a group, I think it’s something we all needed to get a taste of to realise these are the games we want to be playing in.

It’s pretty frustrating when you get to a knockout competition and don’t produce your best, but we lost to a Northamptonshire side that played some good cricket.

We knew we’d probably come up 20 or so short of a good target. At the same time, there was a bit of uncertainty about the pitch, so we never felt we were out of it.

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But we needed to make moves early in the Northants innings and we were probably just one wicket shy in the powerplay of being able to squeeze them.

Adam Rossington played it well – the way he was able to bat highlighted how short we were. He never had to take a risk or look for too many boundary options and just picked up on anything in his scoring region.

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They’re a strong side and I’m sure they’ll be in with as good a chance as anyone at finals day.

Meanwhile we still have the County Championship to focus on. I still feel we’re yet to really peak in four-day cricket but to hold on the way we did on that final afternoon against Surrey was a very satisfying result.

Days like that underline that it’s not always wins that provide the impetus – it can be getting a draw when you’re up against it and really show your character.

That was the case in the Surrey game – we didn’t play our best cricket in the first or second innings but, from there, we identified that we were in a fight and did as much as we could to make life tough for them.

We had a little bit going against us with unfortunate dismissals and it was great to see the guys dig in despite that.

It’s been tough to find match-winning performances at Lord’s over four days on wickets that haven’t offered a lot, but we’ll keep working hard and try to change that against Durham this weekend.

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