The first hour tomorrow is crucial.
What we really need is a little cloud cover and we could yet win this game. The two current batsmen for Middlesex are the last "name" players, although wicket keeper Scott has played some fine innings this year. Twelve runs on with two good batsmen out is a good position but the concern must be that the weather, which has been very kind thus far, may intervene and ruin a potentially exciting (and winning) finish.
Top marks to Chris Rogers, who battled to another good score but who will doubtless be disappointed with 80, albeit the highest of his fifties this year. The real plaudits go to Greg Smith (pictured), who scored his first century in first class cricket. He really seems to have moved to another level with his batting this year and has made good progress. John Morris' signing of him on a two-year contract may well prove a significant piece of business, as he now seems to have married a better shot selection to an expansive range of strokes. Over the next two years he could emerge as a very fine batsman.
Those who have been quick to write off Dominic Telo should think about how long Smith has been on our staff before consigning him to the rejects pile. I suspect that the Telo will benefit from an intensive winter of coaching and living in England and may well emerge a better player in 2009, although he is four years younger than Smith and has time on his side.
There does seem a more solid look to our batting recently and it seems to have come with the introduction of Paul Borrington to the side. The youngster has done well, although he failed in this game and Dan Birch has also looked a better player in recent weeks. Wavell also failed in this innings but the West Indian has played some good hands recently.
Tomorrow we must hope that Charl will produce one of his golden spells or that Waggy will do similar. On the last day we wouldn't be wanting to chase much more than 200 and the Middlesex batting suggested that they would be happy with a draw here.
The bowling was very impressive this evening, with 31 overs producing only 53 runs. No extras, which is all too rare these days.
On a different tack, I've been interested reading the comments of Stuart Law about the departure of Dominic Cork, as well as the comments of their fans on 606. There is pretty much unanimity that he should have been kept on and that they loved his never-say-die spirit. It suggests that Corky may be a changed man from the somewhat fractious image we had of him at Derby.
Could he work with Morris? Could Morris work with him? I read an article a few months back where he said that he'd love to finish his career at Derby, with his stepson emerging as a young player of note. The opinion of fans on here was that signing him would be a big mistake and certainly a divisive influence in the dressing room would not be of any use. Yet it also flies in the face of what comes out of Manchester and I've a foot in both camps here.
I remember his latter days here with little relish, but the fact remains that there will be few better bowlers available this winter, especially ones who can also bat well. Irrespective of how he left the county, I'll always remember his innings against Lancashire at Lords where he was quite brilliant. Take away that personality (can you?) and you'd have to say that an attack next year of Langeveldt, Cork, Wagg and Clare would be a bit useful. I suspect that he will prefer to play at the highest level and rumours abound on the Durham board that he will go there.
It promises to be an interesting winter and if we win tomorrow it could be a very interesting next few weeks...