Andrew Gale: Outstanding display against Notts left me as proud as punch
IT WAS just fantastic for us to win at Scarborough this week and I thought our bowling display was as good as I have seen.
Personally, it was obviously frustrating not being involved after the good work I had done at Old Trafford, I had started to feel like my old self back at the crease. But I was proud as punch for the lads at Scarborough, they put in a real performance against Nottinghamshire after being 60-6 on the first morning and to turn it around on a similar fashion that we did, it followed a similar path to the Durham game at Scarborough last year.
We actually mentioned it on the first morning and last year, we were 90-9 on the first morning and ended up winning in three days and we came through again.
We have played some good cricket at Scarborough over the years and I can only remember losing a couple of games in seven or eight years. We were outstanding again and are getting to the business end of the season and it is very tight at the top of the league.
Middlesex are playing some good cricket. But we have the experience of coming through what we have done for the last few years and if we keep the pressure on and keep doing what we do, we can get over the line and make it three in a row. I am confident that we can do it.
Azeem Rafiq and Andrew Hodd came good with the bat for us when we were in trouble. Hoddy has had a bit of stick throughout the season about his batting from a number of supporters and he came in and showed what he is about and rolled his sleeves up and stuck his chest out.
It is not always about stats; it is about making that match-winning contribution and that is exactly what he did. To get 95, in the circumstances, helps keep the pressure on, given how close the league table is.
Rafiq also showed his prowess. He has got a first-class hundred and I think he made that on debut and I also remember playing a game at Worcester around 2008 and he got a hundred there, but probably never kicked on from that.
It is his way to be aggressive and the situation suited him and probably the best thing to do was attack and that is what he did and it came off.
The bowlers finished it off and it was pleasing to see how ruthless we were. I have previously spoken in this column about missed opportunities in games and not being able to clean the tail up. But our bowlers were outstanding throughout and bowled the right lines and lengths which you need to do at Scarborough.
To be fair, the ‘blotter’ that came from Headingley did its job on the ground. I think it set off a few days ago and it was really slow on the A64, but we managed to get it to Scarborough!
Obviously, it was frustrating to miss out with a back injury. It happened last Saturday when I was in the gym in the morning and just twinged it when I was squatting. I was okay, but then I came and had a bit of treatment from the physio and he treated to loosen it off and it actually made it worse and it locked up and I couldn’t move on Monday.
I had a fitness test on Tuesday morning. I probably could have got through the game if it was just about batting, but I couldn’t have really moved in the field and would have been letting the lads down if I had tried to get through. It has improved a lot since and had we started the game yesterday, then I would have been good to go, really. But unless there is a blip over the weekend, I will be ready for the game at Hampshire next week.
There was at least good news with David Willey’s injury. Looking at it on Saturday night after the Twenty20, I thought he had bust his hand with the size of it and everything. It added up to him breaking his hand and being out for the rest of the season.
It is added bonus that he isn’t and fingers crossed that we can get him back to tomorrow’s semi-final.