Adam Holmes down but not out as North Mid take derby spoils against Highgate
All the action from Saturday’s Middlesex County League matches, as we go around the grounds with North Middlesex, Highgate, Hornsey and North London.
North Middlesex opener Adam Holmes was pole-axed by a throw to the back of his neck – but picked himself up and notched an unbeaten 47 to seal victory over local rivals Highgate.
Chasing 111 for victory on Saturday, Holmes was scampering for a quick single when he was floored by a ball which caught him just below the back of the head, causing concern among his team-mates and some hostility between the two sides.
But, despite the injury, Holmes got back up and continued – proceeding to forge an unbroken 85-run partnership with Joe Hewton (36 not out) as the home side won by eight wickets.
That was North Mid’s second win in succession and, having been in the relegation zone two weeks ago, the derby triumph took them 13 points clear of trouble.
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Like their hosts, basement boys Highgate had also won their first match of the season the previous weekend – so there was all to play for at Park Road before the toss.
North Mid skipper Alex Hill called correctly and inserted Highgate, throwing the ball to Will Wooton, who was making his first appearance of the campaign for the first team.
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Seizing his chance, Wooton started brightly and took the first three wickets, starting with Ponnai Vijendran, who departed for a duck with the score on one.
Nasirul Alam and Jake Sharland began rebuilding the innings, taking the score to 40 – but Alam (19) cut straight to Hill at gully, and Sharland (28) attempted one expansive shot too many, lofting the ball to Zulfi Azom at square leg.
Highgate were 52-3, and Wooton finished soon afterwards with impressive figures of 3-37 off 12 overs.
Darren Eckford picked up where he had left off, bowling Dave Benton (4) and then having Jared Treadway (5) caught in the slips as the visitors collapsed from 43-1 to 55-5 in 30 minutes.
Jaron Semper (2-17) took two quick wickets as Highgate slumped to 72-7 – and Eckford (4-43) ended a brief recovery with another two, before catching the last man off the bowling of young Will Nichol as Highgate perished on 110 after 38 overs.
North Mid started well after tea with Hill pouncing on anything short – and, although North Mid feared they might lose Holmes after his head injury, the opener decided to soldier on.
Highgate’s breakthrough came as Treadway tempted Hill (17) into a drive at a wide ball, and Sam Joseph took a fine catch behind the wicket.
Moments later the visitors were celebrating again as Evan Flowers missed a straight one from Treadway (2-47) and departed for a duck, leaving North Mid 26-2.
However, that brought the in-form Hewton to the middle – forging a match-
Treadway was replaced by a string of spinners, but North Mid’s pair were rewarded for a sensible and low-risk innings, reaching their target after 30.1 overs.
Sixth-placed North Mid have another derby to savour this weekend as they host third-placed Hornsey, while Highgate stay bottom ahead of their tricky trip to league leaders Southgate.
Meanwhile, HORNSEY’S overseas player Anthony Murphy notched 106 as another victory maintained the push for a second successive promotion for Chetan Patel’s side.
Hornsey remain in third place in the Division Two table, but are just three points behind second-placed Shepherd’s Bush at the midway point of the season.
Saturday’s convincing win will give them plenty of confidence for the second half of the season, as they completely dominated despite Patel losing the toss and seeing his side put in by the home skipper.
It was a decision the hosts were to regret as Hornsey were in fine form with the bat, with James Bull (39), Martin Tucker (38) and skipper Patel (25) all playing second fiddle to Murphy’s ton as the Australian came in at No3 and blasted a superb century.
That allowed Patel to declare on 260-6 after 53 overs, with full confidence that this time his side could bowl the opposition out, something they had failed to do in the previous two games.
His confidence was not misplaced as Harrow Town rapidly slumped to 18-4 and although their lower order rallied with a battling half-century from No9 Kamlesh Desai, the home side were soon all out for 150 after 34 overs to leave Hornsey victorious by 90 runs.
Paul Weekes (4-72) was the pick of the Hornsey bowlers, supported by Joel Gregory (3-37) and Tucker (2-20), while Bhasker Patel also picked up a wicket as Hornsey took all the points.
Elsewhere, in Division Three, NORTH LONDON failed to notch a third successive win despite dominating Saturday’s encounter with Bessborough at Shepherd’s Cot.
Matt Hoyle’s brilliant century in a mammoth opening stand with Ian Johns set the platform for NL to go on and beat Division Three’s bottom club, but they could not bowl them out despite five wickets for Byron Hackshall.
However, a haul of 24 points in three weeks has lifted NL to third place in the table and they are right in the hunt for promotion at the midway point of the season.
They will certainly be encouraged by Saturday’s batting display as, having been asked to bat by the visitors, openers Hoyle and Johns gorged themselves on the Bessborough bowling.
The pair had gone way beyond the 100 mark when Johns was first man out for 73, and Hoyle went on to complete a superb ton before being trapped lbw for exactly 100.
A quickfire 45 from No3 Hackshall and a useful unbeaten 21 from Richard Hall allowed NL skipper Mark Askew to declare on a hefty 286-4 from 49 overs, leaving them 51 overs to bowl Bessborough out.
That looked like plenty of time when Hackshall removed both openers cheaply, and he weighed in with two more wickets to have the visitors four down.
But fifth-wicket pair Gary Linton (73) and Kunal Mehta (65 not out) then dug in and although Hackshall did complete his five-for by removing Linton, Askew’s men had to settle for four points.