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South Hampstead captain Williams feels momentum is growing

12:19 17 June 2014

South Hampstead captain James Williams. Pic: Paolo Minoli

South Hampstead captain James Williams. Pic: Paolo Minoli

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South Hampstead secured their second consecutive victory in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League, closing in on their promotion rivals after a 16-run win over Middlesex Tamil Sports and Social Club.

The Milverton Road outfit set a target of 191 and Muhammed Asir Asif’s impressive bowling figures of 4-40 helped skittle MTSSC for 174.

SH are now just seven points off the promotion places and captain James Williams told Ham&High Sport: “We’ve been talking about promotion since the start of season and that’s our main focus. We’re in a good place to achieve that, and feel the momentum is building.”

Asked to bat first, SH reached a solid if unspectacular 190 all out on their home ground, with Paul Atherley (34) and Faud Ahmed (32) leading the way in what was very much a team innings with runs spread throughout the team.

The hosts then set about getting the wickets they needed for the victory, but struggled to find the right bowling combinations, and used seven bowlers in total. Eventually they found the winning formula, though, dismissing MTSSC for 174 after 39.2 overs overs.

Asif was ably supported by Kirk Drummond (3-46) and Touqeer Ahmad (2-39), but Williams felt this was a triumph for the spirit and togetherness of the team.

“We tried lots of different combinations, and heads could have dropped when it wasn’t working, but everyone dug in to grind out the win,” he said.

“We’ve won a couple of tight games this season, and it’s encouraging to see our players not panicking in these situations. How we do in the close matches is what will decide our season.”

The attention now turns to Saturday’s visit to North London, and the skipper is confident South Hampstead can secure another victory.

“We’re in good form at the moment so we just need to keep our focus and play with the same intensity and focus as we’ve been doing,” said Williams.

“We have an excellent seam attack and are always confident we can bowl sides out. There’s a nice balance to this side, and we know we can keep our nerve when chasing runs, so we’re looking forward to Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Wembley also recorded their second successive triumph in Division Three, with the in-form Junayd Azar’s five-wicket haul helping the Vale Farm side to an 87-run victory against Barnes.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat, Sneh Shah (26), Vinay Shah (25) and Tapan Patel (29) all put in steady knocks to help the hosts reach 163 all out off 51.3 overs.

It looked like a gettable total for Barnes, but their top order was taken apart as Azar (5-12) and Sneha Shah (2-31) reduced them to 21-7.

Vimal Arjan (3-16) then came in and removed the tail with some accurate spin bowling.

Wembley’s next match is away at second-placed Highgate on Saturday.

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