Brondesbury overcome leaders North Middlesex in top-of-the-table showdown

Brondesbury turned up the heat in the Division Two promotion battle in the Middlesex County Cricket League after beating league leaders North Middlesex in Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown.

Sam Smith (3-28) and David Miller (3-38) made short work of the North Midd batsmen, skittling their opponents for just 92 from 34 overs.

And, although Brondesbury also struggled with the bat, Tom Simpson (30) and Miller (33 not out) ensured their side did enough to secure a four-wicket victory.

That gives Brondesbury a 15-point cushion over third-placed Harrow, who were held to a winning draw by neighbours Harrow St Mary’s – and it also left them just four points off the top spot with three games to play.

“Realistically, promotion is the main thing for us at the moment,” said Brondesbury captain John Fosbraey. “It should be an interesting last three weeks of the season, we have to play the bottom three so we just want to not do anything silly and make sure of a top-two finish.

“Our bowlers did well against North Middlesex. David and Sam had them 59-6 at one point so it was a brilliant start - it was really down to them that we won the game.”

Fosbraey won the toss in Crouch End, deciding to field, and Smith and Miller were quickly into their stride, with Smith removing Sam Webber and Alex Hill for ducks and then having Evan Flowers (18) caught by Neil Durand.

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Flowers turned out to be the home side’s top scorer and Miller prised out opener Adam Holmes (11), John Mills (9) and Joe Hewton (8).

The spinners then took over and Robert Nelson (2-4) removed Will Nicoll (4) and Charlie Yorke-Starkey (15) before Fosbraey (2-5) trapped both Nick Brand and Ed Bird lbw to leave the hosts all out for a meagre 92 after 34 overs.

That should have led to a routine victory for Brondesbury, but they laboured in their reply and temporarily looking at risk of a shock defeat.

Webber (1-32) bowled James Overy (1) and Brand (1-21) dismissed Chris Smith (5) while Semper (1-8) had Richard Rawlings (1) caught by Joe Hewton.

Bird (3-17) then got in the act, removing Sam Smith (4) to leave Brondesbury 47-4.

However, opener Simpson was still at the crease and he notched 30 before being caught off Bird, who also captured the wicket of Durand (6) – and Miller’s unbeaten 33 took Brondesbury to 93-6 after 24.2 overs.

North Middlesex have now lost two of their last three games – albeit against the two sides directly below them – but they remain 19 points ahead of third-placed Harrow and are still in pole position for a move to the Premier Division.

Alex Hill, who captained the side in the absence of Tom Nicoll, said: “This was a well below-par performance and we have only ourselves to blame.

“We are still top of the league and confidence remains high going into the last three matches of the season. Our captain Tom Nicoll will be back for these games.”