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Highgate can’t quite Russell up a victory against Wembley

15:12 23 June 2014

Highgate's William Russell was on form with the bat and ball but ended up on the losing team. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate's William Russell was on form with the bat and ball but ended up on the losing team. Pic: Max Flego

Max Flego Sports Photography

Highgate were overtaken for second place after falling short at home to Wembley despite an excellent all-round performance from William Russell in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

The Australian cleared up the Wembley tail with remarkable figures of 3-2 from three overs and then hit exactly 50 – the highest score of the match – in Highgate’s run chase.

But Russell was overshadowed by Wembley seamer Junayd Azar, who captured six wickets to clinch a 23-run victory for his side and ensure that they leapfrogged their hosts in the table.

Highgate won the toss and opted to field, but Wembley openers Prinay Patel (42) and Moazzam Rizvi (33) gave their side a solid start with a partnership of 66.

Edward Foster (3-32) eventually made the breakthough when Rizvi edged behind, but Mitchell Fry (11) helped Patel to steer Wembley to a healthy 89-1.

However, Fry’s dismissal by Scott Thaxton (2-38) precipitated a collapse from the visitors as Foster bowled Patel and also Chirag Amin (3), while Vinay Shah (4) fell to Thaxton.

Russell kept the pressure on as he removed Tapan Patel (7), Sneh Shah (25) and visiting captain Chula DeSilva (1), with Chris Arul running out Alex Greig (4).

Jack Peck (1-37) finished off the innings in the 45th over, taking the wicket of Azar (8) and leaving Highgate to chase what looked like a relatively modest target of 167.

But the home side struggled to cope with Azar (6-48), who accounted for Jake Sharland (4) and Ed Binns (8) to leave them in difficulties at 26-2.

The situation grew worse as Tapan Patel (1-8) removed Ben Sudell (6) and Azar bowled both Arul (19) and Ed Atkins (2) to reduce Highgate to 39-5.

Russell and Johan de Silva (25) did their best to launch a fightback with a sixth-wicket stand of 67 and, even when the latter fell to Vimal Arjan (1-34), William Brookes (14 not out) kept Russell company as he passed his half-century.

But Azar claimed his fifth victim by bowling Russell and then added a sixth, pinning Peck (4) lbw while Vinay Shah (2-17) dismissed Foster (11) and Thaxton first ball to seal Wembley’s triumph.

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