With a duck on his First-class debut and an average of just 9.52 when he left Durham, Robin Weston must have wondered how hed angered the cricketing Gods. However, a composed 51 on his Championship debut for Derbyshire seemed to indicate that his luck may be changing. Despite falling 3 runs short of a maiden century to a shot which on many other days would have whistled for four, Weston could be satisfied that his first sustained run in the county game had garnered an average in the 30s, much better than he had managed before. When he recorded his debut century (129* against Essex in June 1999), he followed it up with 2 more in his next 2 games, and he began to look a player of real substance. However at the end of 1999 Weston surprised many with his request to leave Derbyshire, the reason being that the Derby green tops where hampering his efforts to play for England. Such a statement was a bold one for someone who had yet to (and who never did) record 1000 runs in a season. Although the attraction of playing regularly at Lords was an obvious one, Westons decision to join Middlesex contrasted somewhat with his stated aims, as the Lords slope had confounded arguably more batsmen than bowlers over the years. Weston averaged just 18.88 in his first season with Middlesex (and would have been lower but for a tortuous 32* against Cambridge University), and was only seen once in the 1st team after June, although being shunted up and down Midlesexs shifting sands of a batting order would not have helped. There was a feeling that declaring his bold international intentions so boldly had made a rod for his own back. It was therefore to his credit that he came back strongly in 2001 with 3 more centuries and an average in the 40s. 2002 again saw Weston struggle, and the monotony of spending much of 2003 captaining the Middlesex 2nd XI was only broken with a century against the Zimbabwean tourists. Westons career ended at the end of 2003, and with his track record of occasional purple patches it was something of a surprise that he wasnt offered another chance somewhere, although his 4th county would never have known whether they were getting the high class Robin Weston or the fidgety, struggling Robin Weston. His brother Philip has enjoyed a longer career with Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)