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Middlesex County League Premier Division: Joel Hughes full of praise for North Middlesex youngster Joe Cracknell despite Highgate loss

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 May 2018

James Parslow, Joe Cracknell and Evan Flowers model the new North Middlesex kit

James Parslow, Joe Cracknell and Evan Flowers model the new North Middlesex kit

Archant

The N8 club failed to defend a total of 332 against their local rivals last weekend, but will aim to bounce back on Saturday against Finchley

North Middlesex captain Joel Hughes was keen to draw on the positives after losing by two wickets at Highgate last weekend and is hopeful their centurion Joe Cracknell can remain in form for Saturday.

The talented wicket-keeper hit his first Middlesex County League Premier Division ton during the narrow loss and will aim to build on it when high-flying Finchley visit this weekend.

Hughes, who is currently injured with a back problem, is likely to miss the clash on Saturday, but is hoping to see the club’s teenager Cracknell build on his 95-ball 121 in a losing cause at Highgate.

“It was a top knock from Joe and we know he is capable of that, but it was nice to see him score his first century in the Premier Division,” said North Middlesex’s skipper.

“Hopefully this gets him in a rich vein of form and he actually scored 207 not out the following day (Sunday) for Middlesex youth against Essex under-17s and they lost after scoring 350, so it was a funny old weekend for Joe.”

After failing to defend their score of 332-7 at Highgate, the North Middlesex captain is eager for an improved display with the ball on Saturday.

Finchley will provide a big test for the Crouch End-based team and everyone at the N8 club knows the importance of this weekend’s fixture.

Hughes added: “They have some really good cricketers and we always seem to have good games with them, so we can’t take them lightly.

“They are normally there or there abouts every season and it will be a similar story this year I suspect.

“I always think it is harder to win after a defeat and you can get on a streak of either winning or losing pretty easily, so this is a big week for us and hopefully we can get a good result.”

Cracknell crunched a fine 121 last weekend at Highgate and was supported well by James Parslow (60) and Will Vanderspar (54) in a total of 332 for North Middlesex.

The hosts managed to chase it down with two wickets left, however, despite 3-53 from 8.2 overs for Liam O’Driscoll.

“It was a very good game, pretty entertaining because there were a lot of runs scored and it was just a shame we lost,” said captain Hughes.

“We didn’t bowl as well as we could have and gave away too many extras, but I think Highgate definitely know how to bat at their ground and bowl there too.

“This season we have lost a few seamers and I’ve been injured, so we’ve had to call on our depth in the early weeks of the year.

“We bowled a bit too full on Saturday and with Highgate’s short boundary they knew how to make the most of it, but having said that we should have defended 332.”

Despite the defeat, North Middlesex are still fourth in the table after three games and will eye a return to winning ways this weekend at home to early pace-setters Finchley.

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