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Brondesbury captain relishes derby duel with Hampstead after victory over Finchley

Brondesbury captain John Fosbraey. Pic: Paolo Minoli Brondesbury captain John Fosbraey. Pic: Paolo Minoli

By Charlie Eccleshare
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
3:40 PM

Brondesbury continued their strong start to the season with a 46-run victory against Finchley in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League on Saturday.

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Sam Smith bowlsSam Smith bowls

And skipper John Fosbraey now wants to extend the good run by beating local rivals Hampstead this weekend.

The Harman Drive outfit were boosted by the excellent bowling of stalwart Sam Smith and Palash Joshi in Saturday’s triumph - a performance Fosbraey hailed as “confident, aggressive and full of conviction”.

The win took Brondesbury to within one point of the top of the table, having only returned to the Premier Division at the start of this season.

Playing at home, Brondesbury lost the toss and batted first, reaching a total of 156-9 after 66 overs of hard graft on a slow pitch in overcast conditions. Will Vanderspar top scored with 65, supported by Fosbraey (16 not out) and Tommy Ricketts (16).

Their skipper felt confident his side’s seam attack could secure the victory from there, but as Finchley raced to 76-0 after 19 overs, that optimism looked misplaced.

A devastating spell of bowling then ensued, however, with Smith posting impressive figures of 4-15 and Joshi also taking four wickets for the loss of just 34 runs to leave Finchley all out for 110 after 42.2 overs.

Fosbraey reflected: “If we keep bowling like we are at the moment we’re going to be a match for anyone, and we feel we’ve got the quality to prosper in this division.”

Brondesbury are now preparing to visit the reigning champions Hampstead in a local derby on Saturday, and Fosbraey is in confident mood.

“We can beat them. They’re a good side but we will be very competitive and it should be an interesting match,” he said.

“It was a frustrating year for us last year, being in the division below and having to watch Hampstead win the league. Now we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against them at the weekend.

“We will continue to bowl aggressively and once our batters start firing we will be a real match for anyone.”

Brondesbury followed Saturday’s league triumph with a 38-run victory against Stanmore in the semi-final of the regional stage of the Royal London National Club Championship on Sunday.

On this occasion it was Hugh Gimber (39), James Overy (41) and Jordan Bethel (33) who did the damage with the bat, firing Brondesbury to a 171 total, before Smith’s 3-26 helped to skittle Stanmore for 133 after 39 overs.

Brondesbury’s reward is a final tie against Ealing and, if they win, they will enter the national stage of the competition.

The games continue to come thick and fast and, following Saturday’s league clash at Hampstead, Brondesbury will face North London in the first round of the Middlesex Cup on Sunday.

Fosbraey said: “The Middlesex Cup is only four rounds, and we’re more than capable of putting together a good cup run.

“In terms of the league, we are aiming to finish in the top half. It’s a tough division but we’ve got a good mix of experience and ability and we want to build on the strong start we’ve made.”

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