Zak’s attack helps Hampstead to close the gap in Premier Division

Ben Scott was a key man for Hampstead, top scoring for his side with 42.

Ben Scott was a key man for Hampstead, top scoring for his side with 42. - Credit: Max Flego

Zak Khan took six wickets as Hampstead overcame Stanmore on Saturday and moved within two points of the summit in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

League leaders Ealing surprisingly suffered their first defeat of the campaign against Twickenham, giving second-placed Hampstead a chance to close the gap – and they did not disappoint.

Steve Clark’s hosts struggled with the bat at their Lymington Road ground, setting a modest target of 134 – but Khan (6-26) saved the day as Stanmore were skittled for 108.

The chairman of Hampstead’s playing committee, Nick Brown, said: “It was a really great spell of bowling and it won us the game.

“Zak is a great servant to the club. He hasn’t had much of an opportunity this season, with Ragheb Aga and James Cameron arriving and doing a lot of the seam bowling, but he was called upon this time and he certainly delivered.”

Hampstead were asked to bat and Clark (27) and Liam Hughes (17) helped the home side to 73-3, but that quickly became 73-6 as Hughes, Mubasher Hassan (0) and Graham Clark (0) perished.

Ex-Middlesex man Ben Scott survived a dropped catch to notch the side’s top score (42), while Charlie Cooke (13) and Jaahid Ali (18 not out) made useful contributions at the tail – but Hampstead were dismissed for 134 after 51.2 overs.

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Stanmore were firmly in the driving seat after reaching 48-1 in reply, but Khan then struck three times and Matthew Macaulay (1-13) also took a wicket to leave the visitors 52-5.

Opening batsman Stevie Eskinazi (44) stuck around and guided Stanmore to 107-7, but he was then bowled by Khan, who wrapped up the victory shortly afterwards.

“This may prove to be a very important win for us,” added Brown. “It took a lot of character and belief for us to turn this game around because, at 48-1 chasing 135, Stanmore were strong favourites.

“They will certainly regret dropping Ben Scott early on, as that probably cost them the game. His 42 runs and the time that he batted helped us to get up to 134, when it looked like it could have been much less.”