Get your cote: Hampstead triumph takes them top of the Premier Division
- Credit: Max Flego
Hampstead are eyeing a chance to make history after moving to the summit of the Premier Division at the halfway stage of the campaign in the Middlesex County Cricket League.
The Lymington Road club have never won the title, but their six-wicket victory at Eastcote on Saturday took them above Ealing into top spot.
Zak Khan was the pick of the Hampstead bowlers as they skittled their hosts for 184, and the former Middlesex CC man Ben Scott – who was standing in as captain in the absence of Steve Clark – also starred with the bat once again, notching an unbeaten 73 as the visitors reached 185-4.
That took Hampstead eight points ahead of Ealing, who suffered a home defeat against third-placed Winchmore Hill – and the top two sides will face each other in a mammoth clash this weekend.
The chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown, said: “I don’t believe we have ever been top at this point of the season – we may have been top after a handful of games.
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“We’re very pleased with the latest performance – there were contributions from every player. That’s pretty much the story of our season and we like it that way.
“Obviously Ben Scott has been outstanding and the 523 runs that he has scored at the halfway point in the season have contributed massively to our results, but we have primarily won games on the back of spreading the wickets and runs around.
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“I imagine a lot of people will now focus on our game at Ealing, but nothing will be decided at the weekend. There are lots of good teams with genuine matchwinners across the Middlesex County League, so this is just another game.”
Scott opted to bowl at Eastcote and Hampstead made early inroads, with Khan dismissing Aman Lotay (0) and Christopher James (14), leaving the hosts 31-2.
Will van der Spar and Nathan Rabnot added 60 runs together, but 91-2 suddenly became 93-5 as Mubasher Hassan (1-36) prised out Van der Spar (30) and Matthew Macaulay (2-35) accounted for both Rabnot (39) and David Goodchild (1).
Jawwad Rasheed and Ajay Sangha steadied the ship, putting on 40 runs, but Graham Clark (2-20) bowled Sangha (23) and Khan returned to remove Palash Joshi (2).
Rasheed was still in the middle and he led Eascote to 179-7 with a top score of 41, but the end came swiftly afterwards as the home side perished on 184.
Chris Beaumont-Dark (2-3) dismissed Angad Lotay (14) and Clark picked up the wicket of Rasheed before Beaumont-Dark removed last man Jehan Jeffrie for a duck in the 43rd over.
Hampstead’s reply started well as they reached 47 without loss and, although Matt Kabir Floyd (17) then departed, Clark and Scott shared an 84-run partnership, taking their side to 131-1.
Three wickets then tumbled as Clark (48) was followed by James Cameron (2) and Hassan (1), leaving the visitors 138-4, but Scott ended up with an unbeaten 73 at a run a ball alongside Jaahid Ali (26 not out) as Hampstead reached their target in the 37th over.
“The game wasn’t without a scare,” said Brown. “I was a little concerned, but Jaahid told me whilst he was putting on his pads during tea that he would be there at the end and we would win the game – and he was right. He and Ben saw us home.”