Hampstead miss out on first day victory
HAMPSTEAD will look back at Saturday's rain-affected Middlesex County League opener against Eastcote as one that got away. Having won the toss Hampstead's new captain Paul Weekes could not have asked for a
By Pat Mooney
HAMPSTEAD will look back at Saturday's rain-affected Middlesex County League opener against Eastcote as one that got away.
Having won the toss Hampstead's new captain Paul Weekes could not have asked for a better start to the premier division campaign as his bowlers took advantage of the helpful conditions to reduce Eastcote to 33-5 after less than 20 overs.
The new ball pairing of Zac Khan (2-17) and Andrew Lamb (3-54) created the initial havoc as the old adage of line and length rang true. However, with Hampstead well behind the over rate, spin was introduced and the Eastcote batsmen were able to grind it out until lunch for the loss of no further wickets at 80-5.
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On the stroke of the interval the heavens opened and did not abate for two hours much to Weekes' frustration as the rules of the league dictate that any lost overs will only apply to the side batting second.
When play finally resumed the rain had not affected the wicket in favour of the bowlers as expected and, in fact, batting became easier.
Eastcote's lower order, watchful at first, gradually began to expand their stroke play as Hampstead continued to attack in hope of ending the resistance. In the end Eastcote finished on 236.
In reply - and with only 29 overs in which to win the game - the Hampstead openers set about their task purposefully.
Brandon Buckley (16) and Imrann Mohammed scored at seven runs an over until Buckley was caught behind looking for another offside boundary.
Although Hampstead's progress was stalled by the further loss of both Mark Harvey (11) and Weekes (9) the winning draw target of 102 was easily passed.
Mohammed compiled a classy 57 before falling for the lure of the short straight boundaries and the game was effectively over.
Mohammed Ahktar, promoted in the absence of Sumeet Sharma - he required three stitches above his left eye after being struck while fielding close to the bat - scored his maiden league 50, including four sixes.
But the game soon petered out and Hampstead had to settle for the four-point draw.
Tomorrow, Hampstead entertain Winchmore Hill while on Sunday they play Sawbridgeworth in a rearranged National Cup tie.