They thought it was all over - it is now!
HORNSEY skipper Chetan Patel has revealed that the club were already banking on promotion halfway through the campaign, before a miserable end-of-season run-in destroyed their hopes...
MCL DIVISION THREE
HORNSEY 139 (0pts) lost to HARROW TOWN 246 (10pts)
HORNSEY skipper Chetan Patel has revealed that the club were already banking on promotion halfway through the campaign, before a miserable end-of-season run-in destroyed their hopes.
The Tivoli Road-based outfit won eight of their first 11 matches, putting them on the brink of ascent to Division Two at the end of July.
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But they then took just 20 points from a possible 70, missing four successive chances to seal promotion in the final weeks, culminating in a nightmare winner-takes-all defeat against Harrow Town on Saturday.
"I'm trying to forget it all, it's opening up wounds just to talk about it," said Patel. "We're very gutted and very disappointed. The agenda at the start of the season was to get promoted and half way through the expectation changed. We thought 'yes, we're going up'.
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"We threw away umpteen chances to finish the job and threw it all away in the end. We've got no-one to blame but ourselves."
Despite squandering a 28-point lead over Harrow Town in the second half of the season, Hornsey would still have sealed promotion with a final-day victory over the Brent outfit at Tivoli Road.
But the home side bowed out with barely a whimper, allowing the newly-crowned champions to rack up 246, and then slumping to just 139 in reply.
Town's Gihan Herath did most of the damage, notching 32 with the bat and then taking 7-33 after tea to demolish the Hornsey order.
The visitors also had strong performances from Michael Jadunath (45) and Abid Javed (26), while Mohammed Uzairuddin (54) and Weerawarna Nilaweera (34) added crucial runs at no7 and no8.
In reply Hornsey lost Garfield Struthers (9) early and, although Deepesh Makwana and Sanjay Patel built a partnership, they slid behind the run-rate, opting for conservative singles when a second run seemed possible, and certainly necessary.
When Patel was dismissed, his replacements Todd Summers (0) and Kirit Makwana (2) quickly followed him back to the pavilion.
And when Deepesh Makwana was eventually out for 55, the match was effectively over, as only Chetan Patel (12) and Paul Plumbly (10) reached double figures at the tail end.
"Harrow Town batted better, bowled better and actually they probably fielded better too - we dropped some catches. They outplayed us in all aspects so they fully deserved to win and get promotion," the captain conceded.
"We had a quiet five minutes after the match, but then we all went in to Harrow Town's dressing-room with a crate of beers and shared their moment with them.
"We take a lot out of the season. We got over 100 points and in any other season 80 points wins you the league. This year three teams got over 100 so that just shows how competitive it's been.
"I'd like congratulate Ian Gregory, who has taken 61 league wickets this season. It's the second best haul across the MCL, behind Kenton's Sami Haider, and it's a club record.
"No-one has ever got over 50 before. Jonathan Bruce in the second team also beat the record, getting 55, which is fantastic.
"I'd also like to thank Greene and Co, the estate agents in Crouch End who sponsor us.
"The whole of the first-team squad should be staying the same going into next season, so we'll all be a year wiser and we'll have another go.