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Hampstead take the point as red-hot Higgins strikes it Rich

Hampstead's opening batsmen George Adair (left) and captain Steve Clark enjoyed a 139-run first-wicket partnership against Richmond. Pic: Paolo Minoli Hampstead's opening batsmen George Adair (left) and captain Steve Clark enjoyed a 139-run first-wicket partnership against Richmond. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
12:14 PM

Hampstead took a “calculated gamble” with an early declaration in their rain-affected home match against Richmond in the Premier Division, but they had to settle for a point in a losing draw.

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Hampstead's Ragheb Aga was involved in all four of the Richmond wickets to fall. Pic: Max FlegoHampstead's Ragheb Aga was involved in all four of the Richmond wickets to fall. Pic: Max Flego

Opening batsmen George Adair (94) and captain Steve Clark (44) led the way with a 139-run first-wicket partnership and, with the wet weather disrupting play, the hosts declared on 224-5 after 44.5 overs.

Had the game been abandoned, both teams would have got a single point – and that is what Hampstead ended up with as Richmond stayed ahead of the run-rate, with Ryan Higgins hitting 87 off 63 balls to leave the visitors 154-4 when rain ended the contest after 24.2 overs.

The chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown, said: “We’re not disappointed. With all the disruption for rain I think we did tremendously to actually make it a decent game.

“We scored 80 in nine overs to set up the declaration and gave Richmond and ourselves an opportunity to make something out of what could have been another rain-ruined day.

“We could have batted on but we took a calculated gamble to try to get more than a point and ended up getting a point, so in every respect it was a good gamble – we lost nothing.

“Ryan Higgins played very well indeed. He’ll make a big difference to Richmond if he plays regularly.

“If you look at the stats for last season you can see that Richmond were one of the better teams with the ball, but they struggled for runs. His runs can make them a different proposition in 2014.”

Hampstead started well at Lymington Road, with Adair and Clark reaching 139 without loss before Clark (44) was bowled by Jack Porter.

Adair went on to make 94, falling just short of his ton as he was trapped leg before by Steve Stacey, having struck 14 fours in his knock.

Stacey (2-32) also removed Ben Scott (13) as 158-2 became 161-3, and Ragheb Aga (1) was caught off his second ball following a delivery from Porter (2-69).

However, Freddie Fairhead and Liam Hughes added 47 with an aggressive fifth-wicket partnership.

Fairhead struck 29 off 11 balls while Liam Hughes smashed 32 off 10 balls – including three fours and two sixes – to boost the score to 224-4. Fairhead was run out after 44.5 overs, and that was the cue for Clark to declare, giving Richmond 33 overs to reply.

Hampstead got an early breakthrough as Aga had Andrew Lowe (0) caught by Charlie Cooke off the first ball he faced, but that brought the prolific Higgins to the crease.

He was supported by Andrew Plummer (24), who was caught by Rob Jones off Aga (2-48), and then David Burton, who made 22 off 20 balls before being run out by Aga at 114-3.

Hugo Shephard (18) was caught by Aga after a delivery from Chris Beaumont-Dark (1-32).

But Higgins remained unbeaten on 87, having hit eight fours and three sixes, as the rain forced the teams off in the 25th over – and Richmond had the higher run-rate as the points were allocated.

Brown added: “There were lots of positives. George Adair played well for his 94 and would have got his hundred had it not been for the rain.

“Steve Clark was back after three weeks and, while he struggled with his timing early on, he battled through that for 40. Liam Hughes blasted a quick 34, so it was all positive with the bat.”

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