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Hampstead slip up at Stanmore but Brown insists loss isn’t fatal

PUBLISHED: 13:51 03 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 June 2014

Hampstead's Mubasher Hassan took 1-15 with the ball and then top-scored for his side with 29, but ended up on the losing side. Pic: Max Flego

Hampstead's Mubasher Hassan took 1-15 with the ball and then top-scored for his side with 29, but ended up on the losing side. Pic: Max Flego

Max Flego Sports Photography

Hampstead suffered another early setback in their defence of their Middlesex County Cricket League title with a defeat at Stanmore – but the chairman of their playing committee, Nick Brown, insists the loss is by no means fatal.

Stanmore batted for 66 overs to reach 219-8, leaving Hampstead with 54 overs to reply – and the visitors were skittled with 11 balls left, falling 74 runs short and slipping nine points behind the Premier Division leaders after four games.

Brown said: “We are naturally disappointed. We should have been able to keep Stanmore to 170 or 180, and 218 was always going to be a stretch on that surface in 54 overs. Then to get bowled out is annoying.

“Stanmore are a very competitive side. They have a game plan, they generally execute it well and it worked out on Sunday. The conditions helped but that is no excuse.

“We remain confident in our ability. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bits to improve, but generally we are in good shape and will continue to approach each game with a positive mindset.

“Looking at the league as a whole, I maintain that the title will be won with less points this year than for many years, so a loss right now isn’t conclusive.”

Hampstead captain Steve Clark inserted Stanmore and Mubasher Hassan (1-15) removed Steve Mehra (15) before Mark Jones (1-10) had Rishi Pandya caught for a duck, but Stevie Eskinazi (47) took the hosts to 80-2.

He was caught and bowled by Chris Beaumont-Dark (1-56), and when Nikhil Dutta was run out for five, Stanmore were 95-4.

However, Kunal Mehta (68) and Kush Patel (46) added 96 for the fifth wicket. And, although Ragheb Aga took two successive catches off the bowling of Liam Hughes (2-45) to remove Patel and Marc Reingold (5), William Hanson added an unbeaten 11 lower down the order as Stanmore completed their maximum 66 overs.

Chasing 220, Hampstead reached 34 without loss but then stumbled as openers George Adair (13) and Clark (22) departed, followed swiftly by Freddie Fairhead (6) and Aga (0), who both fell to Reingold (2-6).

Ben Scott and Liam Hughes added 43 together for the fifth wicket, when Scott (29) was snared lbw by Mukesh Bhatt (4-52), and Hassan then came in and hit 29 – Hampstead’s top score.

But Hassan and Hughes (22) were prised out in quick succession as 128-5 became 128-7, and Charlie Cooke (10) was the only one of the last four batsmen to make double figures as Hampstead failed to grab a draw, succumbing after 52.1 overs.

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