No neighbourly niceties from Gourlay's gang
CRAIG Gourlay s Highgate put the skids under their north London rivals promotion bid, taking the lions share of the points in a home draw with Hornsey. Visiting skipper Chetan Patel won the toss...
MIDDLESEX COUNTY LEAGUE DIVISION THREE
HIHGATE 256-8 (4pts) drew with HORNSEY 152-5 (1pt)
CRAIG Gourlay's Highgate put the skids under their north London rivals' promotion bid, taking the lions share of the points in a home draw with Hornsey.
Visiting skipper Chetan Patel won the toss at Park Road and inserted Highgate, who sat six places below their table-topping opponents, but the usually devastating Hornsey bowlers were erratic on a damp wicket.
Martin Tucker got the early breakthrough, having James Warburton (1) caught by Garfield Struthers, but the home side came back strongly.
Jake Sharland and Ed Binns put on a stand of 84 for the second wicket, with Hornsey's ground fielding proving little better than their bowling.
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Sharland was finally out for 46 chasing a wide one off Paul Plumbly, but Highgate continued to put partnerships together.
Benton and Binns took the home side on to 132-3, when Benton was caught by Joel Gregory off Plumbly (2-41), and Binns reached 72 before being trapped leg before by Tucker (2-54).
Even then, Highgate put on a further 39 runs for the fifth wicket, before home skipper Gourlay (37) was caught by Alex Scrini off Ian Gregory (3-59).
And, although Matthew Holly quickly joined him in the pavilion for a duck after Ian Gregory picked up his second wicket in quick succession, Nick Brunner and Phil Brown piled on the misery.
The pair enjoyed a 39-run stand for the seventh wicket, when Brunner (42) gave Struthers his second catch of the day.
Brown's run-out for 18 signalled Highgate's declaration at 256-8 after 53 overs, presenting their north London rivals with a stern test as they chased their ninth victory from 12 league games.
The innings began in the worst possible fashion as Plumbly dragged a ball on from Tony Duckett (1-26) for a duck in the first over.
Sanjay Patel and Deepesh Makwana steadied the ship, taking the score to 39 before Patel nicked a fine delivery from Brown to wicketkeeper Samuele Joseph.
Hornsey's troubles worsened when Wes Koskela fell with just one run to his name, bowled by Syed Karrar (1-39).
And when Makwana (18) went the same way as Sanjay Patel, caught behind by Joseph off Brown (2-20), the visiting league leaders were staring down the barrel at 50-4.
Protecting their remaining wickets, Hornsey found scoring difficult against tight Highgate bowling. Playing for just the one point, Garfield Struthers and Chetan Patel batted resiliently, taking the score to 97 before Struthers (14) was bowled by Gourlay (1-23).
Chetan Patel went on to finish with an unbeaten 69 alongside Scrini (9no) as Hornsey comfortably saw out their 47 overs to end on 152-5.
"It was our worst performance of the year," admitted Ian Gregory. "Our bowling, fielding and batting was well below par, but credit must go to Highgate who played much better than us.
"We wanted to have a go at chasing their total but when you are 50-4 with your opponents bowling well, there is not much you can do. Every team has an off day every now and again and hopefully this was our last one for the season.