Record breakers: Crouch End crowned Middlesex Premier Division champions

Crouch End celebrate being crowned Premier Division champions

Crouch End celebrate being crowned Premier Division champions - Credit: Crouch End CC

A fairy tale season for Crouch End Cricket Club entered dreamland on Saturday as the first team saw off Twickenham CC to claim the club’s first ever Middlesex County Cricket League Premier league title.

The club were indebted to Atharva Prasad who was fifth out at 126 having scored 65 from 71 balls, though at that time the score looked a little under par despite a quickfire 26 from Sandun Dias.

Important late runs from Natim Hassam (23) saw the Park Road team reach 180ao in 43.3 overs as Twickenham’s Parminder Singh took 6-17 in 9.3 overs. 

Opening bowlers Pratik Patel and Aparajit Khurana delivered tight early spells that also brought wickets. With Twickenham struggling to 32 for 5, the game looked up for the West London outfit as Cej Ramniclal 3-15 and Natim Hassam 2-20 turned the screw.

Despite some late order runs from Twickenham keeper Ben Leale-Green (38no) the Crouch End party began in earnest as the Premier Division's leading wicket taker Khurana took the last wicket to end their innings at 102ao in 37.5 overs.

Crouch End CC development team

Crouch End CC development team - Credit: Crouch End CC

Captain Hiren Desai said: “This title is for all the members, the team have worked so hard to make this happen and it was great that we were able to make it happen for ourselves by winning our last four games against Finchley, Teddington, Richmond, and Twickenham as everything got tighter at the top.

"We knew we were always still in with a shout and it’s great we’ve seen it through."

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Crouch End Chairman Ritesh Patel added: “This is a massive achievement for the club we are the first club ever to win the Premier League having moved right through the Middlesex leagues from bottom to the very top.

"We joined the old Cricketers league in 1995, moved through the Middlesex Championship surviving a relegation battle in 2015 by the skin of our teeth. In 2017 we were promoted to the County League and Premier Division in 2019.

"To win the Premier title in our first full season is testament to the hours of volunteer work and the strength of community that make this club so special. I’m so proud."

2021 couldn't have gone better for the club with the second and third teams each being promoted as champions.

The fourth team secured promotion in Division 4a missing out on the champion spot by one point, whilst the fifth XI finished a highly creditable third place in Division 5 in their first full league season.

This was a feat repeated by the women’s team, the Crouch End Women, handily monikered the crew, also finished a highly creditable third place in their first full league outing in the Middlesex Derick Morgan League having topped the table for the early weeks of the season.

Sunday Friendly cricket has also been a key part of the mixed age cricket offer at Crouch End with the club playing more matches than any previous season under skipper Mark Sandler maintaining this key part of the club’s cricket infrastructure.

The future also looks particularly rosy for the club. On Sunday the Crouch End Middlesex Development League side won the MDL Shield in a close fought match against Indian Gymkhana hosted at the Calthorpe Ground.

The younger Crouch Enders posted an impressive 218 for 7 in their 40 scheduled overs. Top scorer Krupesh Bala (49) led from the front backed up by important contributions from Shreeraj Chauhan’s run a ball 42, 30 from Rahul Hashu, and a cheeky 27 from 16 balls by club captain Hiren Desai.

The Crouch End team made some early inroads reducing Indian Gymkhana to 98 for 6 but a seventh wicket partnership of 79 brought Gymkhana within touching distance.

The return of Rahul Hashu brought two further wickets as he finished with figures of 4-34, but it was Krupesh Bala who had the last word running out the last batsman to begin the second set of joy filled celebrations of the weekend as Indian Gymkhana were all out for 204 in 38 overs giving Crouch End the victory by 14 runs.

An historic end to a record-breaking season for the Park Road outfit.