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North Middlesex take a giant step towards safety with fifth successive home win

PUBLISHED: 15:52 18 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:52 18 August 2014

North Middlesex's Joel Hughes took 5-47 en route to a victory over Stanmore. Pic: Max Flego

North Middlesex's Joel Hughes took 5-47 en route to a victory over Stanmore. Pic: Max Flego

Max Flego Sports Photography

North Middlesex took a giant step towards securing their Premier Division safety as a fifth successive home win took them 14 points clear of the drop zone.

Joel Hughes took 5-47 as North Midd bowled visiting Stanmore out for 124 in 53.4 overs, and the hosts easily chased down their target to reach 127-3 with seven wickets in hand.

Captain Tom Nicoll said: “It was great to bounce back with a win after the disappointment of last week’s defeat against Richmond.

“The bowlers were once again fantastic, with Hughesy leading from the front. The bowling and fielding were really disciplined and I was pleased to keep Stanmore to a relatively modest total.

“Our openers set the tone with the bat and took the pressure off early. From there some sensible partnership batting set up the victory.

“It’s good to see us back in the middle of the table ahead of another massive game next week, where we play Brondesbury.”

Stanmore won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch which was still recovering from the overnight downpours.

They began patiently and, after eight overs were 16 without loss - but Hughes then earned the breakthrough, removing Umesh Valjee (9).

Stanmore then went through a period of consolidation and, despite tight bowling which included five consecutive maidens from Hughes and Michael Clements (0-24 from 11 overs), looked relatively untroubled.

This soon changed as Hughes claimed the prize scalp of Stevie Eskinazi (8) for the second time this season – and he then got his third successive wicket, snaring Steve Mehra (15) leg before.

Connor Nurse (1-15) delivered his ball of the season to take out Middlesex CCC youngster Cameron Steel (7) while Kush Patel was run out for five, and when Hughes returned to remove Tim Percival (4) Stanmore were 54-6.

North Middlesex were frustrated by a seventh-wicket partnership after lunch, with

William Hanson (17) and Marc Reingold (25) adding 45 runs together.

However, Nicoll (3-13) prised out Reingold, and Hughes had William Hanson (17) caught by Matt Cracknell before Nicoll’s leg spin mopped up the tail, leaving the away team all out for 124 in 53.4 overs.

It was a score that looked below par but certainly defendable given the ups and downs of the 2014 season.

The home side’s opening pair started positively with three boundaries coming in the first over.

Clements (36) was the more aggressive of the batsmen, and he was the first to depart with the score on 44 as Abishek Kulkarni (1-22) made the breakthrough.

Evan Flowers (16) and Nurse (38) then batted sensibly and brought the score up to 68 after 21 overs at tea.

A tight spell of bowling from Mukesh Bhatt (1-27) earned him the wicket of Flowers, who was adjudged to be caught behind with the score on 90.

Steel’s leg spin (1-27) then resulted in a rush of blood from Nurse in what was otherwise a very composed innings, with some smart glovework from Hanson having him stumped.

This brought Nicoll to the crease and he quickly went about finishing the off the game, smashing an unbeaten 25 off 16 balls alongside Adam Holmes (8 not out) and securing the 10 points.

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