Middlesex County Cricket League round-up: Brandon rescues Hampstead

Brandon Buckley’s five-wicket haul sealed Hampstead’s second victory of the season on Saturday.

Hampstead were intent on building on last week’s emphatic win over Twickenham, but they looked to have it all to do when they were put in to bat and lost opener Francois Vainker for a duck when he was trapped lbw by Steve Blyghton (2-33).

But Hampstead overcame that early blip, and Robert Tidey (17) and Buckley (34) got the innings going. The pair had passed the half century mark before Tidey was caught by Fred Daeche-Marshall off the bowling of Mohsin Raza (1-41) to leave them 52-2.

Finchley appeared to have gained the upper hand when Buckley departed soon after, caught by George Charlton (34) off Sunil Tailor (4-48).

Tom Smith (58), the Middlesex spinner, settled nerves and the visitors had reached 82 when Ed Jones (15) was the fourth batsman to go when bowled by Tailor.

Smith, now batting in partnership with Matt Kabir Floyd (19), pushed the tally along, and he passed the century mark before Kabir Floyd was caught by Nizakat Ali off Blyghton.

Jon Lombard (2) was swiftly removed by Ali, but skipper Joe Cotterell (22) provided momentum until Smith was caught by Joshua Knappett off Tailor to leave his side on 151-7.

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And Smith’s departure appeared to be the turning point for Finchley, who quickly mopped up the tail, to have Hampstead all out for 179 in 63 overs.

In reply, Finchley’s hopes of securing their second victory of the season were boosted when Steve Selwood (51) and Daeche-Marshall (21) reached a half-century without loss.

Zac Khan (1-37) made the breakthrough when he bowled Daesche-Marshall to leave them 62-1, only for Selwood and Joshua Knappett (22) to take them to 91 before Selwood was removed by Buckley (5-36).

Finchley had only added five runs when Buckley struck again, bowling Knappett for 96-3. Yet the hosts refused to roll over and pushed on reach 125 when Tom Smith (3-54) had Ayush Sahota trapped lbw.

Jake Milton (44) provided stubborn resistance, but failed to find a profitable partnership, and Finchley were 144-5 when Khan caught Graham off Buckley.

The fifth wicket proved to be the key and the tail crumbled cheaply, adding only 13 runs for the last five wickets as Buckley and Smith maintained the pressure to secure victory.

North London (10) 147

South Hampstead (0) 110

Jonathan Scantlebury took five wickets on Saturday as North London turned a seemingly indefensible score of 147 into a winning total against South Hampstead, writes Ben Pearce.

NL endured a nightmare innings as six of their batsmen failed to reach double figures, and defeat looked on the cards when they fell short of 150 after 48 overs.

However, the bowlers responded after tea to secure an unlikely victory, with Scantlebury (5-53) and Byron Hackshall (4-41) (pictured left) sharing nine wickets between them as SH were dismissed for just 110 in 38 overs.

Earlier in the day, North London captain Mark Askew had been inserted at Milverton Road – and the visitors were quickly in trouble as Jamal Ahmed (3-29) dismissed openers Matt Hoyle (0) and Ben Wakeford (2).

Byron Hackshall came in at No.3 and added 27 runs with Jack Godfrey Wood (6).

But the partnership ended all too soon as the latter was caught by Alex Ranger off Kirk Drummond.

NL were looking to their incoming captain for inspiration, but Askew was bowled for a duck as Drummond (3-42) struck again.

Hackshall’s stand was halted as he was caught by Habib Akram off Ahmed for 27, and when Nish Patel (2-6) bowled Rajesh Singh (9), North London were 54-6.

Resistance came in the form of of James Kee (30) and Tom Wakeford (27), who shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 45 – but when Wakeford was bowled by Nayan Doshi (2-30), NL were still short of 100 at 99-7.

Neil Gill came in and boosted the target, taking NL up to 146-9 with Kee (30) and Richard Hall (4).

However when Hall was caught by Majid Akram off Doshi, last man Scantlebury followed for a duck, leaving Gill stranded on an unbeaten 30 – the joint top score – as NL were dismissed for 147.

Askew’s side were set for their first defeat of the season as they took to the field after tea – but, just 38 overs later, they were celebrating a 37-run victory.

Scantlebury struck early to dismiss Junaid Choudry (0), who was caught by Gill. And, when Hackshall caught and bowled Paul Atherley (6), a landslide quickly followed as 24-2 became 36-6.

Ranger (16) went the same way as his fellow opener Choudry, caught by Gill off Scantlebury – and Hackshall then bowled Edward Williams (1) and Nish Patel (0), before Kee caught Habib Akram (2) off Scantlebury.

NL were closing in on victory and, although the tail end offered more resistance than the top order, the wickets continued to tumble.

Scantlebury caught and bowled Doshi (14), and Hackshall cleaned out Avnish Patel (14) before Scantlebury caught Majid Akram (19) off Tom Wakeford (1-10).

Ahmed remained unbeaten on 25 but that was the top score for his side, and SH’s sorry chase was ended on a lowly 107 as Hackshall bowled Drummond for a duck.

Harrow (1pt) 191-9

North Middlesex (4) 158-7

North Middlesex picked up an encouraging four points despite rain hampering their run chase at Harrow.

Chasing 192 from 45 overs, North Mid looked to be in with a chance of victory when the big-hitting Maxwell Creese and Adam Holmes were togther on 84-2.

However, a clatter of wickets and darkening skies soon saw the Park Road club refocus their attentions to reach 151 to bag the four points.

That was a task they duly managed, largely thanks to the efforts of Holmes, who hit a fine 60, Creese (29) and man of the match Darren Eckford.

Eckford calmed any jitters after North Mid had stumbled to 107-5, and remained unbeaten on 37 at the close, having guided them past the four-point total.

Earlier he had also been the pick of the visitors’ bowlers after hosts Harrow had opted to bat, a decision they were soon regretting.

Dexter Thomas and James Nightingale both produced fiery opening spells, with Thomas sending back the dangerous Dave Walker cheaply and then No.3 Karia first ball.

Eckford then took two quick wickets and when Nightingale dismissed Patdiwala the home side were struggling on 78-5.

However a 50-partnership for the sixth wicket allayed fears of a total collapse, and they moved beyond 150 before Umar Malik (2-32) and two more wickets for Eckford (4-40) saw them declare on 191-9 from 55 overs.

That was a total that looked within North Mid’s reach even after the early loss of skipper Evan Flowers for five.

Ultimately they ran out of time and overs, but could be satisfied with the four points even if it sees them remain in the bottom two in the early-season table.