Brown delighted with Hampstead batsmen after two-wicket win

Hampstead in batting action in the Middlesex County Premier Division (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Phot

Hampstead in batting action in the Middlesex County Premier Division (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Captain Matt Watson guided his team over the line batting with number 10 Ajit Sambhi last weekend

Hampstead chairman Nick Brown talked up the team's batting efforts on Saturday after an exciting contest with Finchley in the Middlesex County Premier Division.

Lymington Road hosted the fixture and the visitors had a bat first, after winning the toss, and declared on 251-7 from 65 overs.

It was a competitive total and not an easy chase, but Hampstead secured the 10 points thanks to skipper Watson, who finished unbeaten on 34 off 39 balls after hitting three maximums and one four.

Earlier in the innings, number three Sam Evison had top scored with 74 and received support from opener Mubasher Hassan (45) and overseas Suresh Peiris (51).

Brown said: "I was really pleased with the batting. We got a good start, then Sam continued his magnificent form with 74, but it was our overseas player Suresh that started the momentum shift with 51 off 61 balls.

"It's not secret he's had a difficult time with us, but he made a game changing contribution on Saturday and that's all you can ask for.

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"It needed someone to get us over the line though and it was Matt Watson that did that, he's struggled with his own form, but the club have supported him 100 per cent because there is a lot more to captaining than what happens on the field.

"Nonetheless we're all delighted he got the runs and was there to see us home."

The successful chase by Hampstead meant Finchley centurion Tej Sheopuri ended up on the losing side, but the teenager was praised by Brown.

Rich Banham picked up 2-35 for the hosts while Ajit Sambhi got through 21 overs at the expense of only 81 runs and whilst claiming two scalps.

All this contributed to a key win for Hampstead, which closed the gap on current top two Ealing and North Middlesex.

Brown added: "I've said it before, but the Middlesex League is really strong. Finchley may be struggling to avoid relegation, but they are a good side.

"Kash Ali is a MCC Young Cricketers player, Joe Graham is the leading wicket taker in the league and the 16-year-old, Sheopuri, got a terrific hundred, plus plenty of other guys with lots of ability, so don't be fooled by the league table."

While ninth-placed Finchley's battle to avoid the drop suffered a blow on Saturday, Hampstead's hopes of an unexpected title win remain alive.