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Nicoll bemoans ‘irresponsible’ batting as North Middlesex suffer third successive defeat

13:15 02 June 2014

Ed Bird bowls for North Middlesex

Ed Bird bowls for North Middlesex

Max Flego Sports Photography

A disappointing batting performance condemned North Middlesex to their third successive defeat as they continue to come to terms with the demands of the Premier Division in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Captain Tom Nicoll took 4-23 as North Midd skittled Twickenham for 124, but the visitors fell short of that modest total, collapsing to 104, with Parminda Singh claiming 7-32 for the hosts.

Nicoll said: “We bowled and fielded very well - John Mills pulled off a remarkable catch.

“We got close to our first league win of the season, but on a difficult pitch our batsmen needed to show more discipline. Too many of us fell to irresponsible shots, and that cost us dearly in the end.”

Nicoll won his first toss of the season and put Twickenham in on an underprepared wicket which misbehaved from the start, assisting seamers and spinners alike. Opening bowlers Ed Bird (1-30) and Joel Hughes (2-29) soon took advantage of the uneven bounce. Excellent catches by Mills and Michael Clements helped to reduce the hosts to 38-3, with skipper Carlos Nunes bowled by Bird for just four.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as seamer Maruf Chowdhury (3-23) and leg spinner Nicoll took over from Bird and Hughes, and Alex Hill took two sharp catches off the bowling of Nicoll to remove Simon Dunning (12) and Gurjit Sandhu (0), leaving Twickenham in trouble at 90-8 at lunch.

Crucially, however, Clint McCabe was still at the crease, having survived a catch just before the interval, and he went on to reach 38 not out – easily the highest score of the match.

Some aggressive hitting produced a further 35 vital runs before Nicoll removed the tailenders with his third and fourth successive wickets – both with lbw decisions as Twickenham perished in the 33rd over.

North Midd’s innings got off to a promising start with Hill and Connor Nurse progressing to 21 before Hill (4) fell leg before – but Evan Flowers followed almost immediately for a duck, while Nurse (11) became the third successive victim of Rashid Mullahzadah (3-22).

Nicoll’s side were now 33-3, and they were unable to put together any partnerships of note as left-arm spinner Singh worked his way through the batting line-up.

Although five of North Midd’s top seven batsmen reached double figures, none of them reached 20, with Mills top scoring with just 18. Several batsmen perished going for big hits as the pitch continued to play tricks and the Crouch End outfit slumped to 92-8.

Unlike Twickenham there was no late surge and, with the fielders clustered around the bat, Singh saw off the tailenders and the visitors’ innings subsided to 104 all out in 40.2 overs.

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