Hampstead just can’t get over the finish line as victory slips through their fingers again

Captain Steve Clark was Hampstead's top performer with both bat and ball, hitting 81 before taking f

Captain Steve Clark was Hampstead's top performer with both bat and ball, hitting 81 before taking four wickets. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

It was a frustrating case of déjà vu for Hampstead as they narrowly missed out on victory and had to settle for a draw for the third game in a row, dropping back into the relegation zone in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.

The reigning champions had fallen 10 runs short in their chase against Stanmore before having Twickenham nine wickets down last week – and they were also just one wicket away from triumphing over Ealing at Lymington Road on Saturday.

A 106-run partnership between Henry Collier (63) and captain Steve Clark (81) Hampstead to reach 266 before they were bowled out in the 64th over – and they then had their visitors 14-4.

Clark finished with figures of 4-30 – but Ahmad Elech struck 140 from 145 balls, while Huw Jones hit 47 and Kristian Martin notched 14 not out as Ealing avoided defeat, reaching 234-9 from their allotted 56 overs.

With Twickenham and North Middlesex both winning, Hampstead slipped back two places into the bottom two and are now six points from safety at the halfway point of the campaign.

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Chairman Nick Brown reflected: “It was a fantastic game with a very tense finish.

“We’re hugely disappointed not to have got the win, but we feel we are playing pretty good cricket at the moment and could, maybe should, have won our last three games - so we are looking forward to the second half of the season and are confident that if we can continue in this vein we will turn performances into wins.

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“Full credit to Ealing - there are very few, if any, teams that could be 14-4 and still get up to 234, especially after we had [Oliver] Wilkin, [Tom] Morton and [Robert] White back in the pavilion. But Elech chanced his arm a bit and it came off, so good luck to him.”

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