Premier Division leaders Hampstead suffer setback after first defeat against Hornsey

Steve Clark bats for Hampstead

Steve Clark bats for Hampstead - Credit: Max Flego

Hampstead’s title bid suffered a setback on Saturday as they slipped to their first defeat of the season in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Missing a handful of players including the influential former Middlesex man Ben Scott, Hampstead were skittled for 203 at their Lymington Road home.

The hosts looked like they might get themselves out of trouble with the ball, initially leaving Hornsey 52-4 – but Michael Philipson and Basil Akram shared a 147-run partnership as Hornsey sealed a five-wicket victory.

Second-placed Ealing took advantage by beating Teddington, narrowing the gap at the top to eight points, but the chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee Nick Brown said: “We will have players back next week and more the week after so this result, whilst disappointing, is no more than that.

“We have no complaints. It was a good game and despite us being denied a number of players through injury, there was a point when I thought we were on top – but Michael Philipson played very well and his unbeaten 90 was the decisive contribution in the match.”

Hampstead were asked to bat and they struggled to 60-4 after losing Rob Jones (16), Mubasher Hassan (0), James Cameron (9) and Liam Hughes (4).

Skipper Steve Clark and Jaahid Ali steadied the ship with a 73-run partnership, but Clark (47) then fell lbw and Philipson (2-33) accounted for Ali (56) and Charlie Cooke (18) before catching Summet Sharma (8).

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Chris Beaumont-Dark and George Leadbetter added 20 together to take Hampstead over 200 but Beaumont-Dark (11) and Zak Khan (1) were both run out, leaving Leadbetter (17 not out) stranded as the hosts succumbed after 57.4 overs.

Hampstead started well with the ball with Clark (1-26) removing Will Notley, (3) and Khan (2-41) dismissed Imraan Mohammed (6) and Jonno Evans (15) before Hughes (1-28) got rid of Weekes (17) at 52-4.

But Philipson hit a pivotal unbeaten 90 alongside Akram (60), while Chetan Patel (5no) helped the Aussie to finish the job at 204-5 in the 49th over.

“It was a good toss to win and Hornsey came at us quite hard with the ball,” Brown reflected. “Jaahid and Steve recovered the position and, whilst not exactly putting us on top, we were in decent shape at 133-4.

“Once they got out it was going to be difficult to put up a big score, and 203 was maybe 40 short of what we wanted.

“We started fantastically with the ball, knocking over the Hornsey top order, and at 52-4 with Paul Weekes out, I felt we were in a winning position - but Philipson and Basil Akram played really well and took the game away from us.

“We tried everything we had, but nothing came off and we have to give Hornsey credit for their win.”