Shock loss knocks North Midd off the top

Thursday, 21st July

Cricket

THE topsy-turvy title race gripping the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League continued on Saturday with Teddington leapfrogging North Middlesex at the top of the table.

North Midd had enjoyed two weeks at the summit but were dislodged after suffering an eight-wicket defeat away to a mid-table Ealing side that hadn’t won in five.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, skipper James Parslow led by example as he smashed 93 runs off 118 balls in a knock that included 11 fours and two sixes.

With the usually reliable big-hitter Matthew Moran bowled without scoring, the visitors had to look elsewhere for runs at the Corfton Road ground. And Fergal Walter duly delivered as he produced a well-crafted innings late on, scoring 58 runs as North Midd climbed to 259-9 off 60 overs.

It was always going to prove a tough total to protect, but Parslow’s side received a timely boost when Andrew Jones bowled Ealing opener Robert Connelly for 17. Any hope was short-lived, however, as fellow opener Ben Graves took the game away from the title challengers with the performance of the day in the top-flight – scoring an unbeaten 128 off 126 balls.

With teammate Luke Stoughton also pitching in with 93 runs, Ealing sailed to their winning total of 262-2 inside 52 overs – handing North Midd a defeat that Teddington seized upon by beating Shepherd’s Bush by six wickets at Bushy Park.

North Midd face another tough test this Saturday when they host fourth-place Stanmore, while Teddington travel to a Richmond side sitting just one place off the bottom of the table.

Elsewhere, Hampstead dropped back down to seventh in the 10-team table after being held to a draw in their home match against Stanmore at Lymington Road.

Having sent the visitors in to bat first, Ben Lockrose and Ben Frazer quickly set about cutting off the runs. But both failed to stop Stanmore’s Michael Levitt, who showed good shot selection as he patiently set about scoring 85 off 136 balls.

The Hampstead bowlers still enjoyed a commanding afternoon, however, with Lockrose going on to pick up three wickets at the expense of 63 runs, while Frazer recorded figures of 3-56. Muhammad Ahmed also bowled well for 2-32 as Stanmore were bowled out after 65 overs for 240.

With their top-order all chipping in vital runs, it looked like Hampstead were heading for the win. Opener Ciaran Johnson scored 43, while Sam Smyth and Steve McGiffin, in at number three and four, hit 54 and 41 runs respectively. But in the end they agonisingly finished just 35 runs short of their target as they ended play on 206-8 after 55 overs.

Hampstead welcome Crouch End to NW6 this Saturday.

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