Middlesex County League Premier Division: Highgate 'looking forward' to hosting Ealing despite Hampstead loss
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 May 2018
Johan de Silva praised the quality of opposition Hampstead after they defeated Muz Ali's team by 59 runs at the weekend
Highgate will look to bounce back in the Middlesex County League Premier Division on Saturday when they host Ealing.
Muz Ali’s team lost by 59 runs at Hampstead last weekend after failing to chase down the hosts total of 263-8.
It was Highgate’s second defeat of the campaign and Johan de Silva has discussed the main change between life in the top flight and Division One.
He said: “The difference this year compared to last has been the depth of teams – lower orders are stronger and more resilient, additional bowlers are equally as capable as the openers, and this means that every point we win is hard earned.
“That being said, it was a creditable performance against a strong Hampstead side who will no doubt be challenging for the title at the business end of the season.
“We are looking forward to hosting Ealing this coming Saturday now and see the game as a good opportunity to get another 10 points on the board before we move into the timed format.”
There was a period during last weekend’s contest at Lymington Road where Highgate thought they had a chance of earning another top flight win.
Good bowling by Ed Foster (2-52) helped reduce Hampstead to 119-5, but Matthew Watson stuck around and hit a pivotal 79.
He was ably supported by Chris Beaumont-Dark (40) and although Misem Zaidi (2-62) and Uzair Amjaid (2-25) both nabbed braces for Highgate, the home side finished with a competitive 263-8.
“Saturday was a tough day for the guys, falling short against a strong Hampstead side,” said de Silva.
“We started well reducing them to four down early on, with Ed Foster in particular bowling well and snaring the wicket of the dangerous Mubasher Hassan for a brisk 34.
“But with Hampstead teetering at 119-5, their strong final score of 263-8 was indebted to a fine innings from Matthew Watson who steered them out of trouble.
“It was disappointing they got up to this score, as at five down, we would have liked to see them all out for sub-200, which would have put us in the box seat for the full 10 points.”
Although Highgate allowed Hampstead too many runs with the bat, they made a strong start to their chase.
Even when Hasnain Ali (14) and Will Bowley (5) went cheaply, opening batsmen Shane McNamara stood firm and passed fifty.
But when he was out for a 66-ball 52, wickets began to tumble and the next best score was 24 from Zaidi.
Highgate’s de Silva added: “Although we lost a few early wickets in reply, Shane McNamara and Liam Knight (17) batted positively.
“It was the wicket of McNamara immediately after drinks, caught behind, that started to put the brakes on the chase, and despite a spirited performance from the lower order, we were all out for 204 with 3.2 overs remaining.”
After falling short on Saturday, Highgate will aim to respond in positive fashion this weekend at home to Ealing.