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Hampstead look ready for big season after early win

Stylish victory on opening day as new recruits inspire run chase

16 May, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Hampstead line up in their new kit ahead of victory over Harrow St Mary’s

A NEW-look Hampstead started their season in style on Saturday as they secured a three-wicket win at Harrow St Mary’s in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

With a number of fresh faces in their ranks, and a brand-new kit to boot, Matthew Watson’s side looked ready for the challenges that lie ahead as they successfully chased down a target of 204 runs for victory.

Among the new recruits now calling Lymington Road in West Hampstead their home is former Sussex and Kent wicket-keeper and batsman Callum Jackson, who kick-started his stats for the club by finishing as their top scorer with 76 off 92 balls against newly-promoted Harrow St Mary’s.

“It’s always important to start the season with a win, especially when, like us, there are a number of new players at the club,” said Hampstead chairman Nick Brown.

“It was a difficult game on Saturday, it always is when you go to a promoted club. Most of their team was unfamiliar, and in Ravi Patel and Tom Barber they had two potential match-winners.

“It was mainly our new players that had the biggest impact on the game for us.

“Ben Frazer and Rich Banham were terrific with the new ball, Suresh Peiris bowled a very tight spell in the middle overs and then added a really important 35 with the bat. And, of course, Callum top-scored with a superb 76.”

Brown was certainly correct about the talent that Harrow St Mary’s brought to the crease. Ravi Patel scored 83 not out off just 87 balls as the home side scored 203-6 from their allotted 50 overs.

For the visitors, bowlers Frazer and Banham seemed to have settled quickly, with Frazer taking two wickets for 37 runs off 10 overs, while Banham took 2 for 11 off seven overs.

Hampstead opener Jackson certainly helped to calm any early-season nerves as he hit seven fours and three sixes in his knock of 76.

As the chairman had stated, Peiris’s score of 35 also proved vital as the away side reached their winning score of 206-7 in 48.5 overs.

Brown added: “The Middlesex League is really competitive, so what we need to focus on is our performances – whether they are good enough to win matches we shall see every Saturday.

“What I am confident of is that we will have better availability than in 2018 – that in itself should make us more competitive than we were last year.”

Hampstead face a tough start to their home fixtures this Saturday when they entertain an Ealing side who beat North Middlesex by five wickets in their opening match.

Evan Flowers top-scored for North Midd with 38, while Will Vanderspar hit 36 as they scored 183-7 off 50 overs. Bailey Capel, with 59 runs, and Ryan Farrell, with 58, both hit half-centuries, however, as Ealing scored 187-5 off 49.2 overs in reply to win the match.


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