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Title drama as three clubs chase top spot

15 August, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Premier division contest set to go down to the wire

WITH just four games to go, the race to win the title in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League has reached boiling point – with three teams promising to take the chase down to the wire.

North Middlesex remain level on points with leaders Ealing after securing a 99-run victory away at Stanmore.

Will Vanderspar top-scored for the visitors with 47, while opener Joe Cracknell and Alex MacQueen scored 36 and 34 respectively as Joe Hughes’s side posted a score of 200 before losing their final wicket in the 58th over.

Hughes (3-28) and MacQueen (3-16) ensured it was a winning total as they claimed three wickets apiece. Max Harris (2-31) also picked up a couple of wickets as Stanmore were bowled out for 101 inside 36 overs.

Hampstead are also still very much in the chase following their single-wicket win away at Twickenham.

Despite a well-crafted knock of 57 from Rhys Davies, and Ben Leale-Green’s rapid 41 runs from 62 balls, Twicken­ham were bowled out for 165 runs. Scott Barlow was the pick of Hampstead’s bowlers as he took four wickets at the expense of 31 runs, while Ben Frazer (3-37) also bowled well to take three wickets.

With runs proving hard to come by, opener Mubasher Hassan got the visitors off to a perfect start with a score of 42, while Sam Evison and Frazer also did well with the bat as they recorded respective scores of 29 and 36.

They helped Hampstead creep over the winning line with Matt Watson’s side ending play on 166-9 – a result that leaves them third in the table, just eight points off the pace.

Reflecting on another close win, Hampstead chairman Nick Brown said: “Twickenham is not an easy place to go, it’s not the best wicket in the league. They’re an aggressive team and especially on a day when the weather is bad. It was very windy on Saturday, the whole thing adds up to an uncomfortable experience, so we’re glad to get the game out of the way and get back home with a win.

“It wasn’t our best bowling performance, 60 per cent of their runs came from boundaries, but we bowled well enough, particularly Barlow and Fraser who were economical and combined for seven wickets.

“We got off to a great start with the bat, Mubasher was outstanding and, although we lost a couple of quick wickets, Sam and Ben combined to take us to what appeared to be a very comfortable position, needing less than 30 runs with seven wickets in hand. But that quickly changed and we lost five wickets for 17 runs and I guess Twickenham were then the favourites.

“But Ajit Sambhi (12 runs), Jamie Litherland (six not out) and Rich Banham (one not out) managed to stick around and crept us over the line, to spark huge celebrations.”


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