The Loughborough UCCE’s cricket season got underway to a quiet and understated start on a very cold Haslegrave pitch on Wednesday afternoon as they faced Middlesex in a 30 over pre-season friendly.

Loughborough struggled throughout against a superior Middlesex side which featured Steve Finn, Scott Newman and David Malan, eventually falling to a 155 run loss.

Middlesex started strongly on a sluggish wicket and a very short boundary one side, as they raced to 89-3 off 14 overs. This was mainly thanks to the ex-Surrey opener Scott Newman who hit a blistering 55 before falling in the 15th over.

There was little the Loughborough bowlers could as balls flew into and over the ECB Cricket Centre and car park.

With Loughborough on the back foot and the field spread, Middlesex cruised to 132-3 from the opening 20 overs. Captain Neil Dexter (48) and Gareth Berg (47) also contributed, and with the momentum with them Middlesex added 83 in the final 10 overs.

This left Loughborough requiring 216 runs for victory at an economy rate of 7.17 runs/over.

As the afternoon drew on, the gloom increased and batting began to look increasingly difficult throughout the 2nd innings. The Loughborough openers crept along to 19-0 off 5 overs as the ball continued to seam around, and were 33-2 in the 13th over.

Loughborough lost their 3rd wicket the ball after hitting their first six of the innings, but at the half way stage had just 41 on the board requiring a further 175 runs for victory.

A strong performance from Middlesex saw them take a further 2 wickets before Loughborough closed on 96-5 from their 30 overs, succumbing to a 119 run defeat.

Loughborough recommence their pre-season campaign on Saturday 2nd April with a 3 day fixture against Northamptonshire.


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