Purple reign: Hampstead in wet weekend win drama
01 August, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Hampstead’s score of 161 was enough to beat North Midd at Lymington Road
THERE was “a big celebration” on Saturday as Hampstead beat the weather – and title contenders North Middlesex in a thrilling encounter at Lymington Road.
Groundsman Steve Jarvis received plenty of praise from his chairman, Nick Brown, as the match in West Hampstead became the only top-flight fixture in the Middlesex County Cricket League to survive the downpours.
“Steve is a fantastic groundsman, he worked very hard to get the game on,” said Brown.
“The wicket was untouched by the overnight rain, but there were some areas of the ground that needed some hard-work to get the game on.”
Sam Evison top-scored for the home side with 45 runs, while opener Mubasher Hassan hit 39 as Hampstead posted a score of 161.
North Midd skipper Joel Hughes led by example as he picked up three wickets for just 31 runs – an effort mirrored by Max Harris who took 3-29 to leave the visitors needing just 162 for a priceless victory.
Boasting two of the league’s biggest hitters this season, in Joe Cracknell and Luke Hollman, North Midd would have been confident of claiming maximum points.
Rich Banham, however, had other ideas as he quickly removed the openers, along with the in-form Evan Flowers, on his way to topping the bowling figures with 4-35. Ajit Sambhi (3-39) also played his part as North Midd were bowled out for just 120 to earn Hampstead a 41-run win and 12 massive points.
Brown added: “North Middlesex are a terrific team and it was hard work against their bowling attack, in particular, Hughes was outstanding.
“But Sam Evison recovered from being hit on the helmet by Harris to continue his great form and Hassan helped him set a platform for a decent total, probably 20 light of what we wanted, but we knew if we bowled well it would be hard work.
“Rich Banham took the three key wickets of Hollman, Cracknell and Flowers – prior to Saturday they were numbers one, three and four run-scorers in the league.
“It would have been tough to take another losing draw with the opposition nine down, so there was a big celebration after the game.
“We’ve now been very close to beating the top two teams in the league in consecutive weeks.
“It has taken a while for us to find our form, but we’re very confident right now. It was a fantastic game.”