Captain Clark keeps Hampstead on course for Premier Division title
- Credit: Max Flego
Hampstead captain Steve Clark took eight wickets to keep his side top of the Premier Division and maintain their bid for the Middlesex County League title.
Asked to bat away at Richmond, Hampstead lost early wickets and, although Mubasher Hassan hit 45, they found themselves 105-5.
Liam Hughes then notched 34 but 131-5 became 151-8, and the visitors were grateful to a 47-run ninth-wicket partnership between Charlie Cooke (41) and Chris Beaumont-Dark (29) as they posted 220 from 65 overs.
However, it was Clark (8-37) who stole the show, decimating Richmond’s top order to leave them 35-5.
Jack Porter (56) and Joe Smith (54) put on 109 for the seventh wicket to put Richmond on course for a winning draw, but Clark reappeared to wrap up the tail and skittle the home side for 160 in the 52nd over.
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The chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown, said: “We’re used to batting first now, so being put in again didn’t affect our game plan, but Richmond bowled well and it was a grind to get up 220. In fact, this was the first time we have batted over half way this season.
“We were certainly indebted to Charlie and Chris for putting on almost 50 for the ninth wicket – which proved to be decisive – but it wasn’t a surprise. They have both done really well with the bat this year, particularly Charlie.
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“Without belittling the efforts with the ball by all the other guys, it was a one-man show when Richmond batted. Steve Clark was simply outstanding and his figures were exceptional.
“He bowled with pace and aggression in his first spell and then, when Richmond looked like the favourites for the four points, he brought himself back on and turned the game around.”
Meanwhile, second-placed Ealing maintained the pressure on Hampstead by winning away at Hornsey, who are now just one place above the relegation zone after being leapfrogged by Finchley.
Hornsey’s Michael Philipson top scored in the match with 111, while Paul Weekes hit an unbeaten 58 as the home side initially reached 190-4, but they then suffered a collapse and ended up with 219-8 from 66 overs.
Weekes went on to take 3-84 with the ball, while Philipson (2-40) and Oliver Yew (1-27) also took wickets, but Ealing made it to 220-8 after 50.4 overs to secure the full 10 points.