Brunner hails rearguard action as Highgate deny Barnes victory in title fight

Highgate’s Nicholas Brunner hailed a backs-to-the-wall rearguard action that salvaged a losing draw in the top-of-the-table clash at Barnes in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

A first defeat of the season appeared to be looming for Highgate when they slumped to 50-5 chasing an improbable 228 for victory against their nearest pursuers in the Division Three standings.

However, defiant knocks from Will Brookes, Craig Gourlay and Phil Knott allowed the league leaders to bat out time.

The solitary point gained was Highgate’s lowest return from a game this season, but Brunner insisted denying their rivals victory could prove all-important come the final reckoning.

“With Barnes being second it was just crucial we didn’t give them the points for the win,” he said. “We are delighted to be top at the halfway stage of the season and Saturday’s home game with Harrow will give us the chance to get back to our winning ways.”

Earlier in the day Jack Peck (3-20) and Gourlay (2-40) had helped to reduce the hosts to 98-5, before the stifling heat blunted their attack, allowing Barnes to post an imposing score.

Highgate’s top order crumbled in reply, but Brookes (39) added 60 with Gourlay before Knott (12 not out) batted out the last dozen overs for the draw.

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In Division Two, an unbroken century stand for the sixth wicket between Jack Bruce (53 not out) and Jack Goldberg (45no) saw Hornsey earn a losing draw at Enfield.

The visitors, chasing 252 for victory, looked doomed at 75-5 before the two Jacks teamed up to save the day.

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