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Bright start for Balbirnie at North Middlesex despite the rain

16:08 12 May 2014

Andrew Balbirnie. Pic: Matt Bright

Andrew Balbirnie. Pic: Matt Bright

Matt Bright

Andy Balbirnie marked his North Middlesex debut with a half-century before rain cut short their Premier Division opener at Finchley.

The Middlesex second XI batsman (pictured above) impressed with a knock of 52 after North Midd – playing in the top flight for the first time in 16 years – were put in on a damp green surface.

Balbirnie and former North Midd colt Connor Nurse (7) added 29 for the first wicket before the latter was caught behind off Hassan Khan during a heavy shower.

The experienced Evan Flowers (22 not out) joined Balbirnie and, although he was fortunate to survive a run-out chance, the pair took the total to 82-1 at lunch.

Balbirnie, who had reached his half-century just before the interval, was caught behind off Francois Haasbroek immediately after the restart – and the heavens opened with North Midd 86-2 at the end of the 34th over.

“We showed good composure in difficult batting conditions and were well placed to push on in the second half of our innings, but it was not to be,” said North Midd skipper Tom Nicoll.

“Andy Balbirnie is a class act and we really look forward to having him with us whenever his Middlesex commitments allow. All in all it was a very encouraging start.”

Hornsey also began well in their Premier Division clash at home to Stanmore, inserting the visitors and reducing them to 57-3.

Jack Goldberg ran out Stanmore opener Steve Mehra (12) and his partner Steve Eskinazi (15) fell leg before to new Hornsey captain Michael Philipson (1-16).

Ed Wharton (1-13) accounted for Navin Samarakoon (4) in the 24th over, but at that point the weather halted play.

The rain allowed just 13.3 overs to be bowled in the Division Three derby, where Highgate hosted North London.

NL openers Paul Brierley (15no) and Ed Dawson (11no) reached 27 without loss, with Highgate’s Collin Lewis conceding just four runs from seven overs.

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