December 9 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
North Middlesex are reflecting on a dream weekend after securing promotion to the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League for the first time and then winning the Middlesex Development League.
North Midd have not been in the top flight of Middlesex club cricket since the County League was restructured in 1999 but, 14 years on, Saturday’s 118-run triumph over Harrow St Mary’s at Park Road ensured a top-two finish with a game to spare.
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll said: “We have played hard cricket this season and the team deserves promotion to the Premier League, where I’m sure we will hold our own next season.
“It has been a thoroughly enjoyable season, and we will go all out looking to end it as champions by winning at Brentham in our last game.
“It has been a terrific year for the club overall. Winning the Middlesex Development League competition on Sunday with a side packed with really promising youngsters was another highlight.
“We have lots of talented youngsters coming through, and overall the club is looking very strong.”
Having been put in to bat at their Park Road home ground on Saturday, North Midd got off to a good start, with Adam Holmes (25) and Aussie all-rounder Sam Webber(45) putting on an opening partnership of 69.
The pair departed in quick succession but Evan Flowers (68) and skipper Nicoll (42) added a classy 86 together with some fine shots.
Nicoll’s dismissal sparked a mid-order collapse and 170-2 quickly became 195-8, but Will Nicoll (24) and Nick Brand (7not out) added 28 valuable runs for the ninth wicket as the hosts clawed their way to a total of 224 in the 54th over.
That target was certainly obtainable but Harrow St Mary’s were never really in the hunt.
Webber (1-15) and Nick Brand (1-19) pinned the top order batsmen down and seamer Ed Bird (3-36) then swung the match their way before Tom Nicoll (2-2) and Will Nicoll (3-25) cleaned up the tail, with the visitors perishing on 106.
That ensured an early promotion – and there was more joy the following day as North Midd overcame Osterley in the final of the inaugural Middlesex Development League, a competition where each team must field at least seven Under-21 players.
Osterley won the toss and opted to bat, but hostile bowling from North Midd’s Under-17 star Ben Owen (4-27) and Under-16 player Fergus Mason (2-23) reduced their opponents to 41-6 off 13 overs.
Skipper Connor Nurse’s spell of 1-9 off seven overs was also exceptional as Osterley finished on 142-9 after their 40 overs.
In reply, North Midd lost Matt Cracknell in the third over but a partnership of 43 between Nurse (20) and Evan Flowers steadied the ship until the captain was given out, caught behind.
In came Zulfy Azom, who handled a tense period exceptionally well, and he and Flowers re-established control and eventually put the Osterley bowling to the sword.
Flowers finished with a superb unbeaten 87, while Azom more than played his part with an intelligent 20 not out as North Midd lifted the trophy.
Colts secretary Richard Nicoll said: “This victory was the culmination of a happy and successful campaign for a team that included five players who started at the club when they were Under-10 or younger – and at least three more who represented the club as Under-12s.
“This is clear evidence that our academy structure, aimed at developing first-team cricketers, is working. It also emphasises the close integration between colts and senior players at the club.”