North Middlesex beat basement boys Finchley in relegation battle
14:55 14 July 2014
Max Flego Sports Photography
North Middlesex posted their second successive victory with a valuable home win over basement boys Finchley in the Premier Division relegation battle.
Francois Haasbroek hit 95 as Finchley declared on 217-6, but a 109-run partnership between North Midd captain Tom Nicoll (63) and overseas player Michael Clements (61) was followed by an unbeaten 32 from Joel Hughes as the hosts reached 218-6 and triumphed with four overs to spare.
Nicoll said: “This was another good win. Last week we defended 114, this week we chased 217, so we are beginning to get the hang of it!
“Joel bowled and batted superbly and is proving a real find for us. We were also delighted to see Michael reaching his first Premier league 50 and beginning to adapt to English conditions.”
Nicoll insterted Finchley and Hughes (3-31) got early breakthroughs, having George Charlton (2) and Leigh Wooldridge (5) caught by wicketkeeper Joe Hewton in a spell of 2-8 in eight overs – but skipper Jake Milton and Haasbroek took the visitors to 114-2.
Milton (50) had been dropped at slip but he was eventually caught by Ed Bird off Connor Nurse (1-56), and Bird (1-50) had Sumeet Sharma (9) caught by Hughes, who then removed Hassan Khan (12) to leave Finchley 147-5.
But Haasbroek reached 95 before being caught on the boundary by Adam Holmes off Nicoll (1-39) – and Finchley declared on 217-6 after 62 overs.
North Midd’s innings got off to a shaky start with seamer Frahan Butt (3-57) dismissing Nurse, Evan Flowers and Hewton to leave the hosts in trouble at 46-3 after 16 overs.
But Clements and Nicoll steadied the ship and gradually moved onto the attack, each playing their best league innings of the season in a stand of 109.
When Nicoll (63) was caught, North Midd needed 62 off 16 overs to win and, when Clements (61) and Holmes (2) also departed, they required 19 off seven overs with six wickets down.
A nail-biting finish seemed inevitable, but man of the match Hughes (32 not out) and Nick Brand (14no) kept their heads to secure victory with four wickets to spare.
n Elsewhere in the top flight, Hornsey were defeated away at Stanmore.
The visitors were skittled for 167 in 52.5 overs and Steve Eskinazi hit 79 while Steve Mehra struck 75 not out as Stanmore reached 168-2 in 46.2 overs.