Middlesex County Cricket League round-up

All the latest news and results from the local cricket scene

SOUTH Hampstead are still seeking their first victory of the season after they failed to win either game of their league and cup double header at the weekend.

SH sought an immediate response after their opening day loss against Indian Gymkhana when they played Barnes in the league on Saturday. Yet they were forced to settle for a losing draw despite a terrific display with the bat by Sam Bardon, who scored an unbeaten 73.

At Shepherd’s Bush the next day, they came away empty handed, despite showing flashes of brilliance when they fell just seven runs short after Bush had posted 287-2.

SH were put into bat at Barnes and were rocked when Alex Walters caught Alex Ranger for a duck off Tom Bourne (2-53) after only a single run had been posted.

Rashid Khan (3) quickly followed after he was dismissed by James Drake-Brockman (3-31) who proceeded to remove Nish Patel (0) to leave SH at 8-3.

Skipper Paul Atherley (38) got the innings moving, only for the momentum to be hampered by the loss of James Williams (7) who was caught by Walters off Bourne to make it 21-4.

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However the arrival of Bardon to partner Atherley raised hopes and the pair boosted the tally to 70 when the skipper was the first of five victims for Tom Hemingway (79-5) when he was caught by Gareth James.

SH refused to go down without a fight and Habib Akram had taken them to 94-6, before he became Hemingway’s second victim and the Barnes bowler slowed progress further when he removed Jamal Ahmed (0).

But SH kept plugging away and had reached 144 when Hemingway had Jeremy Medlin (7) leg before. Majid Akram (38) pushed the tally along until he too was removed by Hemingway, and the dismissal of Kirk Drummond for a duck left SH with a defendable 203 off 54 overs.

In reply Barnes quickly dashed SH’s hopes when they raced to 85 without loss, losing their first wicket when Alexander Campbell was timed out, after Joe Taylor had retired on 52 not out.

Bardon had William Bruce trapped lbw for a duck to leave Barnes on 88-2, only for the home side to dig and reach 131 before Ben Smith (14) was removed by Medlin (4-51).

Bardon and Nish Patel (2-33) were unable to make further inroads as Barnes secured the four points with Drake-Brockman adding 27 and Walters and Rob Matthews adding 10 runs apiece.

In the cup the next day, Bush were put into bat and effortlessly breezed along to 148 before Samuel Howell was trapped lbw by Wajid Tahir.

The tally had reached 181 before SH struck again – Alex Ranger catching Alex Mitchell (81) off Nish Patel’s bowling – and Bush pushed on to reach 287 with Narendran Naguleswaran reaching an unbeaten 93 and Matt McKeever hitting 36 not out).

Bush’s total of 287 off 45 overs left SH with it all to do. But a sublime 99 from Patel, who was caught agonisingly close to his century by Mitchell off Carl Menzie (4-49), allied to 67 from Ranger and 40 from Avnish Patel, helped them to reach 280 all out.

Winchmore Hill (10pts) 234

Brondesbury (0) 169

BRONDESBURY all-rounder Ajay Sangha picked up six wickets – but it was not enough to prevent his side slumping to their second defeat in a row.

Sangha stemmed the flow of runs with three wickets following a strong start from Winchmore Hill and added three more to leave the visitors in trouble at 123-6.

But an eighth-wicket stand of 65 proved invaluable – exactly matching the winning margin as Hill clambered up to 234, a total that proved beyond Brondesbury as they lost their last seven wickets for just 36.

Harrow St Mary’s (0pts) 158 North London (10) 159-5

NORTH London recorded their first victory of the season at the second attempt on Saturday, with Byron Hackshall top scoring in a comfortable victory over new boys Harrow St Mary’s, writes Ben Pearce.

Tom Wakeford and Jonathan Scantlebury took three wickets apiece as HSM were dismissed for 158 in Crouch End.

And Hackshall struck 66 for the hosts after tea as NL reached their target with five wickets and 10 overs to spare.

It was an impressive victory given that Mark Askew’s hosts were missing five key players, including their three highest scorers from the previous weekend’s draw with Ickenham – Ian Johns, Matt Hoyle and Tom Noutch.

However, the NL skipper won an important toss and took the easy decision of inserting his visitors on a flat-looking but green-tinged track.

In truth, the home side’s bowling proved to be steady rather than penetrative, but Saints gave early wickets away due to a combination of impatient batting and an ugly stumping.

Scantlebury had opener Mitul Patel (4) caught by Askew and Hackshall (2-40) trapped his replacement Subhash Satyam in front of his wicket for a duck, before Bill Ward stumped Kunj Thakkar (2) off the bowling of Scantlebury.

That left the visitors struggling at 28-3, and opener Harmeet Singh (16) became Scantlebury’s third victim soon after.

Lakmal Kasthura (33), Samuel Blennerhassett (43) and Ahmad Afridi (41) offered good resistance and showed the quality that has brought HSM up to the Middlesex County League.

It was the most interesting phase of the game, but Kasthura was eventually run out, while Blennerhassett and Afridi were caught off the bowling of Tom Wakeford, who ended the innings with devastating figures of 3-9.

NL continued to bowl to a plan as Scantlebury (3-36) recorded six consecutive maiden overs, and the hosts fielded with commitment and courage, with James Kee taking three catches.

Harrow’s middle order mixed defence with pleasing drives down the ground but, when last man Hitesh Sharma was caught off the bowling of Rajesh Singh (1-36) after 44.2 overs, the visitors’ total of 158 looked 50 or 60 runs light.

NL’s. reply began positively as the opening pair of Askew (27) and Ben Wakeford (18) made a useful but edgy 30 for the first wicket, but it was no3 Hackshall who won the game with a quick but classy knock of 66.

Three quick wickets from Sharma gave North London an uncomfortable 20-minute spell, as they lost Hackshall, Jack-Godfrey Wood (20) and Richard Hall (1).

But Kee (11 not out) and Singh batted sensibly and maturely to reach their target and take the home side over the line with 10 overs to spare.

Highgate (0) 184

Shepherd’s Bush (10) 186-6

CRAIG Gourlay took six wickets for Highgate, but couldn’t save the Park Road outfit from their second successive defeat.

The visitors lost the toss at Bush’s Bromyard Avenue ground on Saturday and, having been asked to bat, failed to reach 200 for the second week in a row.

Having started life in Division Two with a score of 165 against Southgate, Highgate mustered 184 before their dismissal after 49.5 overs.

And, athough left-arm spinner Gourlay recorded figures of 6-46, Shepherd’s Bush reached their target with four wickets to spare.

Southgate (10pts) 206

Hornsey (0) 182

HORNSEY were brought crashing down to earth after suffering a 24- run defeat to Southgate on the last ball.

After their last-gasp opening-day win over North Middlesex, when captain Chetan Patel took a winning catch off the final ball, the roles were reversed on Saturday as Sam Hickingbotham was caught off the last delivery.

Bhasker Patel (3-37) was the star with the ball as Hornsey restricted their hosts to 206 after 50.5 overs.

In reply, the visitors’ slumped to 64-5.

Hickingbotham led the recovery, while Martin Tucker hit 56 as Hornsey reached 168-6. And, although the tail fell cheaply, Hickingbotham was still at the crease at the end, needing to defend the final ball to earn a point – only to nick it behind.