Middlesex County League Premier Division: Chairman Nick Brown hoping Hampstead can continue playing well after terrific start

The new cricket season is well underway (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The new cricket season is well underway (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

After five weeks of 50-over cricket, the format in the top flight will change to timed games and remain in place until August 11

Hampstead are sitting pretty in first position in the Middlesex County League Premier Division, but chairman Nick Brown knows they must continue to play well to keep winning games.

The Lymington Road club have won four of their opening five fixtures in the top flight this term with the other match abandoned due to the poor weather.

It has been a fantastic opening month of the season, but Brown is well aware of how difficult life can be in the Premier Division.

Twickenham are up next for the leaders and it will be the first of nine consecutive timed fixtures in the top flight, but Hampstead go into Saturday’s home game with lots of belief.

Brown said: “It’s been a terrific start to the season, so we can definitely move into the longer form games with confidence.

“The Middlesex League is tough, so we will have to continue to play well to win games.”

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Hampstead produced the goods again on Saturday at Finchley as Liam Hughes’ men triumphed by 38 runs after the hosts were all out for 162 chasing 201 to win.

Mubasher Hassan top scored for the visitors with 51 and he was supported by Jack Biddulph (32) before Scott Barlow chipped in with 36 batting at nine.

Chairman Brown said: “It was a sticky, difficult surface and runs against the new ball were going to be vital and fortunately Mubasher and Jack gave us a terrific start.

“I was especially pleased for Jack, filling in for George Adair, and Mubasher keeps delivering and providing the innings with momentum.

“Once the spinners came on it was a different game and we were indebted again to late order runs, particularly Scott Barlow, with support from Ollie Steele (12) and Will Roberts (12).”

After being dismissed for 200 in the 48th over, Hampstead made an excellent start in the field with Hassan taking 4-39 from six overs.

Finchley staged something of a recovery in the middle overs, but Barlow’s 2-26 along with scalps for Steve Clark (1-16), Roberts (1-33), Chris Beaumont-Dark (1-28) and Hughes (1-16) ended the hosts’ hopes of winning.

“We were confident 200, while not a great score, was a total we could defend,” said Brown.

“Finchley got off to a similar start to us, but lost wickets, which probably made the difference in the end.

“The bowlers did a pretty steady job across the board and our fielding was good which is just what we hope to do every week really.”