Former England star sentences Hampstead to narrow defeat at Stanmore

Hampstead (2pts) 246 Stanmore (10) 250-8

Hampstead were left ruing a narrow escape for Mark Ramprakash as the former England batsman inflicted their first defeat of the season with an unbeaten century.

Ramprakash’s Stanmore side were reeling at 87-6 as they chased their visitors’ total of 246 – but the veteran turned the game on its head with an unbeaten 113.

That enabled Stanmore to squeeze home by two wickets, although the outcome could have been very different had Ramprakash not survived a strong leg before appeal when he attempted to sweep Liam Hughes.

Nick Brown, the chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, said: “We thought we had him dead lbw, hitting him on the back leg. Had that gone our way, we would have almost certainly won.

“We can’t find much fault in how we played – we scored almost 250 in spite of three of the top six getting ducks and did pretty much everything we could do with the ball.

“However, Ramprakash has the ability to take the game away from anyone. His appetite for runs has to be admired given the amount that he has scored in his life and he certainly put in a full shift on Saturday.”

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Hampstead captain Steve Clark won the toss and decided to bat – but his own spell at the crease did not last long as he was caught off Chamika Karunaratne without scoring.

However, George Adair and Jamie Gibson got the Hampstead innings up and running with a partnership of 105, ended when Adair was dismissed by Mukesh Bhatt four short of his half-century.

Mubasher Hassan followed almost immediately for a duck, the first of three victims for Tushaar Karia (3-44) – and his others were Gibson, who was leg before for 65, and Hughes, bowled without scoring.

That left Hampstead stumbling at 123-5, but Ragheb Aga (45) and Jonathan Dunne (42) added 62 for the sixth wicket and Jack Biddulph chipped in with 29 as the visitors used up their allotted 50 overs, with Abishek Kulkarni (3-43) cleaning up the tail.

Hampstead made immediate inroads when the home side began their reply, with Gibson (3-34) removing Umesh Valjee leg before and then taking a catch off Clark (1-26) to get rid of Talha Azam, both for ducks.

The visitors kept the pressure on as Gibson dismissed Navin Samarakoon (9), but Ramprakash found an ally in Karunaratne (21), who shared a 52 partnership.

When the latter fell to Gibson and Aga (2-38) weighed in with two quick wickets, both catches behind the wicket, Stanmore were in deep trouble – but Ramprakash kept them afloat.

Skipper Marc Reingold (38) gave Ramprakash sterling support before Kulkarni (28 not out) helped him to see Stanmore home with 10 balls to spare in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 75