Search

Nicoll hails North Middlesex’s ‘unbelievable’ transformation after securing survival

13:28 25 August 2014

North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll (centre) celebrates with team-mates. Pic: Max Flego

North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll (centre) celebrates with team-mates. Pic: Max Flego

Max Flego Sports Photography

North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll has hailed his side’s “unbelievable” transformation after they secured Premier Division status with a sixth win in eight games.

Connor Nurse bats for North Middlesex. Pic: Max FlegoConnor Nurse bats for North Middlesex. Pic: Max Flego

The Park Road club, promoted to the top flight last year, looked doomed to drop straight back down after failing to win any of their opening eight matches, from which they gleaned just seven points.

But a seven-run victory over championship-chasing Ealing in early July sparked an astonishing revival – and from being no-hopers, North Midd are suddenly fourth in the table.

Their latest success, a tense two-wicket win over struggling Brondesbury on Saturday, wiped away any lingering fears of relegation – but Nicoll feels the Ealing win was undoubtedly the turning point for his team.

“If you look at last season, we didn’t win for the first six games and then we won seven or eight in a row,” said Nicoll. “I think our team’s quite confidence-based.

“It takes a win to get us going, and that first one against Ealing was absolutely massive – it changes something in you. After that our batsmen started hitting a bit of form.

“To chase down 230 on a turning wicket shows how far we’ve come, I’d say, from being rolled out for under 100 quite a few times in the first half of the season.

“It’s unbelievable and I’m so proud – to secure our place in the league is quality. We know what to expect now and we can certainly push on from here.”

North Midd’s recent success has been built on a strong youth system and that was in evidence on Saturday as two of their former colts – Connor Nurse and Nicoll himself – scored half-centuries to steer their side home.

“We set up an academy about three years ago and all those boys are playing in the first, second or third teams,” said the North Midd captain. “Just this week a young lad of 14, Joe Cracknell, scored 87 from 40 balls in the 2s.

“You’ve got people in the first team like Connor, myself and my brother Will, Matt Cracknell and Nick Brand – we’ve all been playing here since we were kids.

“We really believe in that foundation of having a good colts set-up and good coaching and we’re reaping the rewards now.”

Nicoll lost the toss at Harman Drive and Brondesbury opted to bat, but they were soon in trouble as James Overy (6) fell to Joel Hughes (3-75) with 10 on the board.

Brand (2-17) then accounted for both Will Vanderspar (1) and Hugh Gimber (5) as Brondesbury slumped to 31-3, but Simon Butler led their recovery with a classy knock of 87.

Chris Blake (38) and Tom Shaw (36) both offered Butler solid support as the home side progressed to 166-4, but Hughes claimed two more wickets and Jaron Semper (2-49) finally secured the scalp of Butler.

Sam Smith struck 28 before he also fell to Semper and the Brondesbury innings eventually closed at 232-8 after 60 overs.

North Midd made steady progress in reply and, despite the losses of Michael Clements (12) and Evan Flowers (11), both to Adam Wilson (2-67), Nurse (65) and Adam Holmes (35) put on 64 for the third wicket.

Smith, who bowled tirelessly, trapped Nurse leg before, but Tom Nicoll laid into the Brondesbury attack with relish and he and Holmes took the visitors to within 60 runs of their target.

However, Smith (4-70) bowled Holmes and had Hughes (10) caught at mid-wicket and it was down to the Nicoll brothers to guide their side past the 200 mark.

Even then, there were nerves in the North Midd ranks when Fosbraey (2-41) bowled Tom Nicoll around his legs for 56 and then got rid of Charlie Yorke-Starkey (6).

Brand (4) fell to Smith with five runs still required, but Semper (4 not out) and Will Nicoll (11no) managed to scramble over the line with 11 balls to spare.

Brondesbury’s survival hopes now hang by a thread and they could use a favour from North Midd when they host neighbours Hornsey, who are also in the relegation zone, this weekend.

Nicoll hopes a derby victory could even keep his side in with an outside chance of the title, adding: “If we can get another 10 points against Hornsey, you never know, do you?

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Hornsey, I have a lot of mates who play there and I’m sure we’ll have a good game. It could be a season-changing game for them as well.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

07:45
Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista celebrates scoring (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says defender Gabriel is still struggling to grasp the English language.

Yesterday, 09:27
Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere will remain sidelined for at least the next two or three weeks.

Thu, 13:00
Marlon Kizito, Islington BC

Islington BC teenager Marlon Kizito made an impressive return to the ring with a third-round stoppage on the club’s open show at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park.

Thu, 12:00
Islington U11s

Mesdar Woldesus netted twice as a second-half blitz sealed top spot in the group for Islington Under-11s with a 7-3 victory against Tower Hamlets.

Thu, 11:26
Liverpool fans display signs protesting ticket prices in the stands at Arsenal before kick-off. Picture: Nick Potts

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif celebrates a small victory against the club’s penny pinchers, but says there’s a long battle ahead.

Thu, 10:00
Anaconda Swimming Club's Elena Dewhurst

Anaconda SC pair Elena Dewhurst and Andrew Boadi are both among the county’s elite swimmers after scooping gold medals at the Middlesex Championships.

Thu, 09:54
Action from Regent's Park Rovers' (red) 4-0 victory over South London Sharks in the Jack Morgan Cup. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

El Valiente staged a superb comeback to squeeze into the next round of the Dickie Davies Cup after a 3-2 win over Bethune.

Thu, 05:28
Junior Gunners

Arsenal head up to Manchester United later this month for what is always one of the most eagerly awaited clashes of any season.

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe