Highgate Cricket Club promoted to Premier Division
Captain Muazam Ali says team is ready to embrace life in the top flight
07 September, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
Highgate heroes: back row from left, Misem Ali Zaidi, Scott Elstone, Mo Ahmed, Shane McNamara, David Monk, Chris Arul and Malik Sadiq; front, Beryl Casale (scorer), Phil Knott, Muazam Ali (captain), Craig Gourlay, William Bowley; Edward Foster was absent for the photo
SKIPPER Muazam Ali says that players from Highgate Cricket Club are ready to “embrace the challenge” after winning promotion to the top flight of the Middlesex County Cricket League for the first time in the club’s 138-year history.
The Gators will take on neighbouring rivals Hampstead and North Middlesex, along with newly-crowned champions Ealing, when they line-up in the Premier Division next season. And judging by the form that the team showed on their way to being crowned Division Two champions – winning 13 of their 18 matches – the boys from Shepherd’s Cot will prove a tough test for anyone.
“What a privilege it is for the club to be playing premier league cricket next season,” said captain Ali, who played professional cricket for Durham and Essex. “The most important thing is for the players to embrace the challenge, and to enjoy it. All three of Highgate’s teams will be playing in the top flight of their respective divisions next year, which is a fantastic achievement for the club.”
For the first team the historic promotion win marks a massive turnaround in fortunes. Last season they avoided relegation by just one point, and Ali says that their survival, along with the addition of some new faces boasting “real top quality”, was the catalyst for their glory this time around.
“We have played really, really well this season. We’re a fantastically rounded side with a tremendous team spirit,” he said. “Cricket can be such an individual sport at times, but when you get the team spirit just right something special happens. We avoided relegation by the skin of our teeth last season, and the energy that came with surviving continued this year and proved vital in our success.”
“We also brought in guys with real quality,” Ali added. “Scott Elstone, who use to play for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, has been brilliant. So has Malik Sadiq, he’s always full of energy, and knows how to get the team going. “William Bowley has also been absolutely fantastic for us all season, and has taken the game away with his batting performances. He’s been here for around 18 years, and from being a talented colt has emerged to becoming one of the first names that I put on the team-sheet. He has got an ability that not many people have.”