Hampstead bounce back from opening-day defeat with victory over Indian Gymkhana

Freddie Fairhead hit 30 with the bat and then took 3-38 with the ball. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Freddie Fairhead hit 30 with the bat and then took 3-38 with the ball. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Hampstead recovered from their opening-day defeat against Ealing by triumphing by 33 runs away at Indian Gymkhana in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

New overseas signing Jamie Gibson batted well again, following his 40 in the opening fixture with a half-century, while Freddie Fairhead (30) and Liam Hughes (35) helped the visitors to reach 217-8 from their 50 overs.

Fairhead then took the final three wickets, recording figures of 3-38 as Gymkhana were skittled for 184 in 47.1 overs, giving Hampstead their first victory of the campaign.

The chairman of the playing committee, Nick Brown, told Ham&High Sport: “It was terrific to get our season properly under way with a win.

“We were bitterly disappointed last week as we twice put ourselves in a great position to win and didn’t deliver. That said, this was a game that we could easily have lost as they were in good shape with 10 overs to go.

“It is not easy to play at Indian Gymkhana. They have a team perfectly suited to their home surface and I am sure that they will win games at home.”

Hampstead captain Steve Clark won the toss, electing to bat, and George Adair made 21 at a run a ball while Clark made a more sedate three from the same number of deliveries before both openers were bowled by Sumit Khullar (3-24) in quick succession.

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That left Hampstead 30-2 but 21-year-old Kiwi Gibson and Mubasher Hassan shared a 60-run partnership and, although Hassan (22) was eventually bowled by Bupinder Singh (1-28), the runs kept coming down the order.

Gibson reached 50 before being caught off Aman Dhindsa (1-45) and Fairhead notched 30 before being trapped lbw by Dinesh Mahant (1-16).

Hughes was on four at that point and he went on to hit 35 off 34 balls in a 54-run pairing with Jonathan Dunne, taking Hampstead to 191-5 – and Dunne struck 22 off 27 balls, while No8 Archie Fellowes added 10 off 12 balls before becoming Khullar’s third victim.

Charlie Wedgwood (4 not out) and Will Roberts (5no) added a few extra runs in the final two overs, and the visitors finished their 50 overs on 217-8.

Clark caught Rakesh Khade (8) off Gibson (1-14) early in Gymkhana’s reply and, although Kabir Kholi (24) and Arjun Rehncy (10) took the hosts to 47-1, Will Roberts (1-13) bowled Kholi and Hassan (1-25) dismissed Rehncy.

When Chris Beaumont-Dark (2-30) removed Puneet Mehra (1), Gymkhana were struggling at 62-4. But Dinesh Mahant and Amardeep Rehncy put on 65 runs – a partnership that was finally broken when Fairhead caught Rehncy, who had hit 29 off 33 balls.

Gibson caught his replacement Rana Khan (12) off Fellowes (1-31), but danger man Mahant reached his half-century and, at 158-6, Gymkhana needed 60 to win off the last 10 overs.

Crucially, Mahant (55) was run out by Fellowes, and the end swiftly followed as the final three wickets fell for just 15 runs, with Fairhead (3-38) removing Bupinder Singh (0), Khullar (1) and Dhindsa (25) in turn to wrap up the victory.