The clash between Middlesex and Glamorgan next week looks likely to go a long way to deciding who joins Nottinghamshire in Division One next year, assuming that the current Championship format continues. Both teams have three games to play while Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have two. Nottinghamshire are currently 46 points ahead of third placed Derbyshire and it would be a major upset if they were not now to finish in the top two.
In the reverse fixture back in April Glamorgan were soundly beaten by an innings and 82 runs, thanks to an eight wicket haul by Toby Roland-Jones and a century from John Simpson. Both counties have had similar fortunes in recent months in the white ball competitions. They each narrowly missed out on qualification for the knock out stages of the One-Day cup and neither had very convincing displays in the Blast.
In the Championship, Middlesex made the stronger start prior to the Blast, with four wins and two draws from their first six games, while Glamorgan managed just two wins, two draws and two losses. Since the start of June the position has changed and out of the five games each county has played, Glamorgan have won three and drawn two, while Middlesex have drawn three and lost two. Their last win was back on the 8th May. This has meant that Glamorgan have moved up into second place while Middlesex have dropped to fourth. However, the gap is only seven points.
Looking at the two sides, Middlesex are the stronger bowling outfit, with Glamorgan weakened following Michael Neser’s return to Australia. Both teams have strong batting line-ups, although Glamorgan were heavily reliant on new overseas signing, Shubman Gill in last week’s draw against Worcestershire. Eddie Byrom also contributed a half century while Sam Northeast had one of his few failures this season. In the end Glamorgan were indebted to the weather which washed out the final day, having been asked to follow on. Hopefully there will be an improvement in the conditions this week to allow a full contest, although both sides will be working hard to avoid a loss given their positions in the Championship battle. While a draw may be the most likely outcome, if there was to be a positive result the Middlesex attack looks the more capable of taking 20 wickets.
Glamorgan have missed Timm van der Gugten for much of the season due to a hamstring injury. He has only played in six Championship games, pulling up in two of these. He has the ability to take wickets and Glamorgan will be hoping that he and Michael Hogan can impose themselves on the Middlesex batters. He had a successful return to the side last week, taking 4/81 in the Worcestershire first innings.
Steve Eskinazi will almost certainly end as the top run scorer in this year’s One-Day cup, with four centuries in eight games. However, his performances in the Championship have been less impressive, with just 222 runs at 31.71. He has however only played five games due to a fractured thumb early in the season and he will be keen to add to his runs tally for this competition.
While Middlesex have lost Tom Helm to England’s upcoming tour of Pakistan, they have gained the services of Ryan Higgins, following his move from Gloucestershire. Tim Murtagh did not play in the game at Cardiff and these two will probably make up the seam attack alongside Roland-Jones and Ethan Bamber. South African batter Pieter Malan has come in to replace Peter Handscomb, with Murtagh taking over as captain. Malan is part of a strong batting line up which had faltered in the games against Derbyshire and Worcestershire, but has posted first innings scores in excess of 450 in the last two Championship matches.
Middlesex squad: TBC
In their game against Worcestershire, Glamorgan went in with the extra batter, skipper David Lloyd operating as the fourth seamer. They will be relying heavily on Hogan and van der Gugten with the new ball, while James Harris will be back playing against his old county and has the benefit of familiarity with the Lord’s slope. He will also be keen to improve on the 20 wickets he has taken so far this season. Glamorgan will probably field the same eleven as last week.
Glamorgan squad: TBC
Weather and Conditions
The weather looks a little drier next week, but making any firm predictions seems to be a fool’s game at present.
The recent wet weather will have freshened up the pitches and hopes of encouraging greater use of spin seem to have been thwarted yet again. The likelihood is that the captain winning the toss will choose to bowl.
Date: 12th – 15th September 2022