Middlesex batsman sets his sights on regaining number three spot

13:00 19 June 2014

Middlesex's Joe Denly

Middlesex's Joe Denly

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Joe Denly says he is determined to force his way back up the Middlesex batting order in the second half of the season.

Denly was dropped from the County Championship side after a poor run of form at the start of the campaign and, despite winning back a place in the team, he has been unable to reclaim his preferred no 3 slot.

The 28-year-old, who has been batting at five or six instead, admits he needs to weigh in with some sizeable scores very soon – and he hopes that will push him back into contention for his previous role.

“It was a tough period,” said Denly. “I didn’t get many runs in the pre-season friendlies and I didn’t have a great deal of confidence going into the season.

“Everyone starts the year with a clean slate and whoever scores runs early on is going to get the nod. Other people who had scored runs got selected and that was fair enough.

“Dawid Malan went up to three and he’s scored some runs. So have Eoin Morgan and Neil Dexter – so the only position left to come in was six and there’s still a lot of responsibility there, especially if you lose a couple of wickets early on.

“But it’s all about trying to score runs to get back up the order. I feel I owe it to the coaches and my team-mates to put in some big performances in the second half of the season and try and achieve that.

“I’ve almost gone back to just not thinking about things too much – it’s a case of doing the basics, watching the ball and playing it.”

As well as trying to move back up the order, Denly’s added incentive for amassing runs during the coming months is to help maintain Middlesex’s title challenge right to the end.

The former Kent batsman was part of the side that, last year, appeared to be in the running for the County Championship crown until their last few games, when they fell away and eventually finished fifth.

“We can’t look too far ahead,” added Denly. “Every team you come up against is very strong and it’s very tight up there – the top four or five are so close.

“People probably didn’t have Durham down as title contenders last year, but the run they went on in the second half of the season was incredible and once they got on a roll they couldn’t be stopped.

“We’ve got the team to do that – in my opinion we’ve got the best bowling attack in the country and we need to be consistent. There’s certainly belief in the team that we can do it.”

Denly struck an undefeated 98 to help Middlesex finally break their duck in the NatWest T20 Blast on Wednesday night as they beat Somerset by eight wickets at the Oval.

The Panthers, who had lost their first six games in the South group, restricted Somerset to 152-4 in their 20 overs before Denly and debutant Ryan Higgins (44 not out) saw them home with 17 balls to spare.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 16:00

Spencer McCall is immediately targeting a new objective – avenging Hendon’s opening day defeat to Worthing – after their FA Cup dreams evaporated at Boreham Wood.

Yesterday, 07:00

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche has set his side the target of joining club hockey’s European elite after emerging as the league’s surprise package this season.

Thu, 22:30

Mauricio Pochettino says he is happy with Dele Alli’s goal return and insists the midfielder should not be expected to score as regularly as a striker.

Thu, 14:16

Mauricio Pochettino feels summer signing Vincent Janssen might be putting too much pressure on himself as he bids to end his dry run in front of goal, and the Tottenham manager says the Dutchman simply needs some encouragement and patience.

Thu, 12:00

A fixture between Toulon and Saracens is always billed as a blockbuster – and Saturday’s pool three Champions Cup opener certainly lived up to the pre-game excitement.

Wed, 21:51

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wed, 17:00

Hendon boss Gary McCann admits he is “embarrassed” by Hendon’s lowly league placing – but he expects it to change as players return from injury and suspension.

Spurs Ladies midfielder Maya Vio says the team’s clinical streak in front of goal is down to their hard-working nature.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now