League leaders suffer title blow

North Middlesex remain top of the Middlesex County Cricket League despite four-wicket defeat against Hampstead

Thursday, 4th August — By Steve Barnett

Cricket stumps IMG_6466

Hampstead’s bowling attack put in ruthless display

NORTH Middlesex remain top of the Middlesex County Cricket League despite being undone by Hampstead’s bowling attack on Saturday at Park Road, Hornsey.

Having won the toss, James Parslow’s side might have been regretting their decision to bat first when opener Alex MacQueen was dismissed for just five runs after being caught by Jonathan Dunne off Will Roberts’s bowling.

Things went from bad to worse for North Midd as Roberts returned to pick up two more quick wickets to leave the home side reeling on 23-3.

First, a smart catch from Steve McGiffin helped end Joe Cracknell’s innings for eight runs, and then North Midd’s big-hitter of the season, Matthew Moran, came and went without scoring after being trapped lbw by Roberts – who ended an impressive 12-over bowling spell having taken three wickets at the expense of just 29 runs.

David Heavyside offered some resistance for North Midd as he scored a patient 39 off 73 balls, while skipper Parslow was also cautious with his shot selection as he hit 32 off 75 balls.

Both players, however, were to succumb to Ben Frazer’s pinpoint accuracy – the Hampstead bowler also picking off Will Vanderspar to end the afternoon with 3-30.

With Ben Lockrose pitching in to finish the job off, taking 3-66, North Midd were skittled out in the 59th over for just 167.

Sam Evison’s one-ball stay at the crease would have offered North Midd a glimmer of hope – the Hampstead opener bowled by David O’Sullivan with the aid of a good catch from Cracknell.

But Evison’s replacement, Sam Smyth, quickly settled any nerves as he top-scored with 80 off 131 balls, putting in a confident knock that included 11 fours.

With Ciaran Johnson and Dan Waite chipping in with 31 and 32 runs respectively, Hampstead soon rattled off the required runs – ending the 43rd over on 171-6 to seal a well-earned four-wicket win.

If there was any consolation for North Midd it was that they remain top of the Premier Division table despite the defeat after title rivals Teddington were held to a draw in their home match against Crouch End – although the lead is now just five points with five games left to play.

Hampstead, who are seventh in the 10-team table, could have another say in the title race this Saturday when they host Teddington at Lymington Road.

North Midd, meanwhile, will be hoping to get back to winning ways at Twickenham, but will have to be at their best as they take on a side equally desperate for points as they look to avoid relegation.

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