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Highgate climb into second spot after victory over South Hampstead

13:31 04 August 2014

Craig Gourlay (right) exchanges a high five with Highgate team-mate Will Bowley after capturing a South Hampstead wicket. Pic: Max Flego

Craig Gourlay (right) exchanges a high five with Highgate team-mate Will Bowley after capturing a South Hampstead wicket. Pic: Max Flego

Max Flego Sports Photography

A big third-wicket partnership between Chris Arul and Will Russell hauled Highgate out of trouble and secured victory over South Hampstead as they climbed to second place in the Division Three table.

Visitors South Hampstead appeared to be in command after they piled up an imposing total of 272-4 declared and then dismissed two of the top three for ducks to leave Highgate wobbling at 4-2.

But Arul and Russell turned the match back in their side’s favour with a stand of 156 and Nick Brunner smashed a quickfire unbeaten half-century to clinch victory at 275-6 with three balls to spare.

Highgate’s opening bowler Jack Peck said: “It was another great win for us – at 4-2 the win looked a long way off.

“But that super partnership between Chris and Will gave us a chance, with Nick applying the finishing touches. It was a good day for Highgate, with all four of our teams winning.”

Craig Gourlay, who deputised again for injured Highgate captain Jake Sharland, won the toss and decided to field, but he and his fellow bowlers found the going tough.

SH skipper James Williams got his side away to a sound start, hitting 24 before he fell to Edward Foster (1-54), but Karthik Jagannathan (38) and Sridharan Sriram (81) added 71 for the second wicket.

Gourlay finally broke that partnership when he had Jagannathan caught behind, but Nish Patel kept the scoreboard ticking over as he reached 15 in as many balls.

Russell (1-53) got rid of Patel, but that paved the way for Leroy Shepherd to unleash a fearsome display of hitting as he and Sriram hustled the SH total along to 197-3.

Although Gourlay (2-93) claimed the scalp of Sriram, Keith Piper (15 not out) kept Shepherd company as he finished with an undefeated 85 from 63 deliveries.

Williams declared at the end of the 54th over and Kirk Drummond (2-57) immediately kept the pressure on Highgate by removing Will Bowley and Ed Binns, both without scoring.

However, Arul and Russell weathered the storm as they gradually built a match-winning partnership, with Arul looking good for a century until he was bowled eight runs short by Majid Akram (1-36).

Russell took up the baton and, in tandem with Ben Sudell (18), guided the home side past the 200 mark before SH forced their way back into the game by inflicting a double blow.

Muhammed Umar Asif (1-30) bowled Sudell and, with Russell falling to Sriram (1-73) for 87 in the next over, the pressure was back on Highgate.

But Brunner rose to the challenge, hitting five fours and three sixes in his knock of 51 not out and, although William Brookes (9) was run out in the penultimate over, Foster (4no) steered his side over the line.

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