Murray hits his first half-century but North Middlesex are defeated again

Jaron Semper was part of a tail-end resistance that added 51 runs to North Middlesex's total but tha

Jaron Semper was part of a tail-end resistance that added 51 runs to North Middlesex's total but that effort proved to be in vain. Pic: Max Flego - Credit: Max Flego

Overseas recruit Mitch Murray hit his first half-century for North Middlesex and was the top scorer in Saturday’s clash with Richmond - but the Crouch End club slumped to their third successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.

Nineteen-year-old New Zealander Murray notched 61 but North Midd nonetheless fell short of 200 and, although they then had their hosts 169-7 in reply, Richmond’s eighth-wicket pair scored 30 runs to reach the target with one over to spare.

North Midd captain Tom Nicoll elected to bat but witnessed early losses as openers Adam Holmes (0) and Joe Cracknell (19) were both caught off the bowling of David Burton (2-30).

Murray attempted to steady the ship but Will Vanderspar (6) and Tom Nicoll (8) were unable to stick around for long as North Midd found themselves 64-4.

A 49-run partnership with Evan Flowers (31) improved the picture, and Will Nicoll (7) then helped Murray to take the visitors past 140 with five wickets in hand. But Matthew Dickinson (4-37), who had prised out Flowers, also accounted for Will Nicoll and Murray (61) in quick succession, leaving North Midd 147-7.

The tail end of Jaron Semper (12), Joel Hughes (21) and Ben Owen (7) managed to add another 51 runs but the total of 198 still looked below par as the innings was ended after 46.4 overs.

Richmond reached 30 without loss in reply and, although Vanderspar took a return catch to remove James Irvine-Fortescue (7), Oli Tame and Ben Compton put on 61 together.

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A mini-slump followed as the hosts lost three wickets for 16 runs – Tom Nicoll (2-56) removed Tame (48) while Semper (2-30) had Abhishesk Jhunjhunwala (9) and David Blows (0) caught.

Compton and his new partner Joe Smith put on another 50, yet the hosts lost another three wickets for just 12 runs as Smith (18), Compton (59) and Stephen Price (4) departed.

Suddenly Richmond were 30 runs short of their target with only three wickets left – but Alex Griffiths (20 not out) and Burton (15no) ensured there were no more scares, securing victory with the final ball of the penultimate over.