Highgate ease to four points in derby
Jake Sharland scored an unbeaten half-century as Highgate started the Middlesex County League season with a winning draw in Saturday's division three derby against Hornsey. They restricted the visitors to
By Jonny Weeks
Hornsey 198-8, Highgate 180-7
Jake Sharland scored an unbeaten half-century as Highgate started the Middlesex County League season with a winning draw in Saturday's division three derby against Hornsey.
They restricted the visitors to less than 200 from 45 overs and then marched steadily and assuredly to a winning draw in what skipper Dave Benton described as "a good all-round team performance".
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Benton won the toss and with dark clouds hovering put Hornsey in to bat. Opening bowlers Tony Duckett and Chris Fletcher kept things tight in the early overs, with Duckett breaking through with the score on 23.
Rain took the players off for an hour, and when they returned Benton chose to let loose his spinners, Syed Karrar and Craig Gourlay.
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Both settled quickly, and it was Karrar who made the second breakthrough, removing Allen lbw. Scrini and Patel then made the most of the short boundaries with some well-struck blows taking Hornsey past 100. But Highgate's patience was rewarded when Scrini was caught by Sam Joseph for a well-made 77.
Patel continued to attack, as wickets fell at the other end, eventually holing out to Joseph for 43 to give Karrar the fifth wicket of another excellent spell.
Gourlay kept up the pressure, finishing with two well-deserved victims, and Hornsey eventually declared on 198-8 from 45 overs.
With just 35 overs to bat, Highgate knew a good start was crucial, and they got this with Sharland and Will Clarke savaging anything loose.
Clarke nicked one behind for 17, followed by Vijendran first ball. But Freddie Barrass supported Sharland admirably, helping Highgate towards 100.
Then, having reached an excellent 50 and with the hosts eyeing up the victory target, Sharland misjudged a pull and was hit in the helmet by Hornsey captain Ian Gregory. With Sharland retiring hurt, Highgate lost valuable momentum. Jack Willow started with a boundary before being adjudged lbw, and when Barrass fell in the next over it was Benton and Joseph who steadied the ship.
Benton played on unluckily for 18, and Fletcher was undone by a fast yorker. When Joseph went for a mature 18, Highgate had to focus on the winning draw target of 155.
Sensible batting from spin twins Karrar and Gourlay took them past this with few problems. Gourlay celebrated by taking 18 off the final over, ending things with a six to finish 34 not out.
"It was a good all-round team performance, with everyone chipping in," said Benton.
"I was pleased with the contributions of the new players, and Jake continued his excellent early season form. He should be an important player for us at the top of the order."
Highgate visit North Middlesex on Saturday tomorrow.