Hampstead extend their lead at the top after winning top-of-the-table clash

Chris Beaumont-Dark is congratulated by his captain Steve Clark (left) after capturing the wicket of

Chris Beaumont-Dark is congratulated by his captain Steve Clark (left) after capturing the wicket of Chris Peploe as league leaders Hampstead won their top-of-the-table clash with Ealing. - Credit: Max Flego

League leaders Hampstead moved 18 points clear of their nearest pursuers Ealing after winning Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

James Cameron hits out for Hampstead at Ealing

James Cameron hits out for Hampstead at Ealing - Credit: Max Flego

Hampstead dismissed their hosts for 197, and the former Worcestershire pair James Cameron and Ben Scott then led the way with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 65 and 45 respectively as the visitors strode to 200-4 to win by six wickets.

“I can’t praise the team highly enough, it was almost a faultless performance from start to finish,” said the chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown.

“I think we are really underrated with the ball. People think of us as having a powerful batting line-up, but we have now bowled out seven teams in a row.

“We used seven bowlers on Saturday – all of whom got a wicket – and we didn’t use James Cameron, who had a five-wicket match this season.

“We have played well, we deserve to be top of the league but what we need to do now is keep on playing well.”

Ealing won the toss on their home turf and opted to bat first on a very hot day, but Hampstead captain Steve Clark (1-14) dismissed Chris Wakefield (5) and Zak Khan (1-30) got rid of Luke Soughton (10), leaving the hosts 24-2.

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Ahmad Elech and Mylo Wilkin took them to 61-2 but that became 61-4 as Matthew Macaulay (1-20) prised out Elech (16) and Liam Hughes (1-26) removed Wilkin (25).

Ealing reached 107-4 but again Hampstead struck twice in a matter of moments and made it 107-6, Sumeet Sharma (2-25) dismissing Leigh Parry (23) and then Christopher Moore for a duck.

The pattern continued as 136-6 became 139-9 as Chris Beaumont-Dark (2-16) removed Kristian Martin (11), and Graham Clark sent Chris Glasper (1) and Ishan Ratnayake (2) back to the pavilion.

Hampstead were then frustrated by David Holt and Ealing’s last man Chris Peploe, who added 60 runs for the 10th wicket, but Beaumont-Dark eventually got rid of Peploe (33), leaving Holt stranded on 62 not out in the 54th over.

The reply began well as Steve Clark hit 12 off the first over and, although he was dismissed for 15 and Graham Clark followed for 32, Scott and Cameron then shared a 79-run partnership, taking the visitors to 136-2.

Scott fell on 45 but his replacement Liam Hughes made 28, taking Hampstead to the verge of victory before perishing at 178-4 – and Cameron (65no) and Jaahid Ali (9no) finished the job in the 44th over.

“I can’t understate the quality of James Cameron’s innings,” said Brown. “He has had a couple of low scores recently, but this weekend he was simply top-class. He demonstrated his power and technique against the turning ball and did what top players do, and that was to be there at the end and hit the winning runs.

“We have a couple of players out next week, but we have good players to bring in and we will need to be at our best.

“Hornsey will be a stiff challenge – especially now that Paul Weekes is back playing, but we’ll be ready.”