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Simpson blog: Time to build on win

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Middlesex's John Simpson reflects on a momentous victory over Surrey and looks forward to the return of Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn...

Middlesex’s final day victory over Surrey was an amazing way to get our first win of the LV County Championship season.

We knew it was going to be a tough ask with Surrey needing just 42 with six wickets remaining at the start of play, but with the pitch doing a bit we also knew a quick wicket would put the pressure back on them. We got a good start and then it was really game on.

There were a couple of matches last season where we won from a similar situation so I think the memory of being successful in the past made sure we kept on fighting to the end.

There were some pretty spectacular celebrations from Tim Murtagh when we won – I’m sure everyone was glad he kept his shirt on this time as it has been known to come off in the past! But his reaction showed how much the victory meant to us as a team.

Pitch demons?

Chris Adams was quoted after the match saying he thought it was the worst Lord’s pitch he has seen, but I think that was exaggerated.

It was obviously doing a bit off the wicket but you’ve got to expect that early season. We’ve had rain around and you can’t expect the wicket to be the same as it would be at the back end of the summer.

There was some big movement off the seam but it wasn’t a case of one ball hitting the batsmen around the ankles and the next going past their chin.

Both teams had strong bowling attacks and to be honest at this time of the season it’s good that the bowlers have an advantage because later on it’s going to be hard work for them. These things even themselves out.

It’s good that we play our next match at Lord’s again because our form here has been excellent over the last couple of years and we’ll have to be at our best against Durham.

Finn & Strauss

There are a few changes to the side though. Firstly, our Club Captain Neil Dexter has temporarily stepped down as skipper in championship matches in order to concentrate on regaining his form.

It’s typical of Neil that he’s putting the club first ahead and I wish him all the best as he looks to get back amongst the runs - hopefully starting this week.

Meanwhile, we have Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn back available, which is great for us. It doesn’t disrupt things at all when the England players come back into the squad.

These guys who are coming back are Middlesex through and though and when they’re here they wear their heart on their sleeve and give their best. If anything it puts them under pressure as well because they know they’ve taken the places of two of the players who haven’t done a lot wrong so they’ve got to come back in and perform!

I’m sure the Middlesex members are looking forward to seeing Steven steam in from the Pavilion end because he’s a handful when he’s in full flight.

I’ll see how my hands are at the end of the day because he’s been bowling with some good pace this winter and is raring to go again now.

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