Hampstead celebrate after winning County League title in their 150th anniversary year
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead are celebrating after winning the Middlesex County League title in the year of their 150th anniversary.
The Lymington Road outfit were defeated by six wickets in their penultimate Premier Division game away against Southgate on Saturday, having been bowled out for 64.
However, North Middlesex beat second-placed Richmond to ensure Hampstead won the crown anyway and avoided a title decider against Richmond in their final game at the weekend.
While Richmond can still finish level on points with the leaders if they beat them, Hampstead will nonetheless have won more matches and are therefore out of reach.
The club only won their first ever County League title in 2013, so their second success in quick succession is huge cause for celebration – particularly given the club have reached a notable milestone in their history, having been formed 150 years ago in 1865.
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The chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown, told Ham&High Sport: “It’s a pretty undignified way to win the league, but titles are won over 18 games, not just one.
“The Middlesex League is relentless and very difficult – the whole season has been emotionally draining for everyone. It feels like every game, the wins and losses, have been in the balance and even on Saturday, with only 64 to defend, if we had caught better we could have stretched a few nerves.
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“It was a very long and nervous wait until I got the confirmation from [North Middlesex captain] Tom Nicoll that they had beaten Richmond, but then the celebrations could start. It’s an understatement to say we are delighted, especially in the 150th anniversary year.”
Hampstead’s match finished rather early after they were asked to bat and promptly skittled for 64 in 18.3 overs.
Captain Steve Clark (24) and Charlie Wedgewood (10) were the only batsmen to get into double figures, and seven of their team-mates perished with two runs or fewer.
Southgate’s Fawad Mullahzadah took 8-20 in 9.3 overs and the hosts knocked off the required runs in 15.2 overs.
Nonetheless, Hampstead were celebrating that night and they will host Richmond on Saturday as the champions – although they will be missing their overseas player Jamie Gibson.
“He dislocated and fractured his finger on Saturday so will fly back to New Zealand early to start his rehab,” said Brown. “He has been a fantastic overseas player, everything about him has been superb.
“He’s signed a contract with Wellington for 2015/16, so it is very unlikely he will be able to come back to the Middlesex League, but we would have him back without a second thought.”