Highgate crush Bessborough to extend their lead at the top

Bessborough (0pts) 123 Highgate (10) 127-2

Opening bowlers Will Brookes and Hashen Ramanayake destroyed the Bessborough batting as Highgate maintained their perfect start to the campaign with a fifth straight win.

Brookes took four wickets and Ramanayake three, while Craig Gourlay picked up two as Highgate put the home side in and ruthlessly dismissed them for 123 in 39.2 overs.

Chris Arul then struck a brisk half-century to guide the north London side to an eight-wicket victory – and extend their lead at the top of the table to 16 points.

Gourlay said: “It was another excellent all-round performance from the boys, with young Will Brookes excelling with the ball and Chris Arul with the bat.

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“I’ve been at the club for a decade now and can never remember winning five games on the trot. With key players to return this week there will be some dilemmas in selection.

“We can’t wait to take on our local rivals North London who, despite being bottom of the table, are more than capable of springing a surprise on Saturday.’’

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Gourlay helped to get the ball rolling in the Bessborough innings, taking a catch off Ramanayake to remove Kushal Patel (4) and the same bowler struck again soon afterwards, bowling Jigar Shah (2).

Ishan Shah (6) was next to depart after giving Brookes (4-45) a return catch and, when Rajan Modha fell to Ramanayake (3-27) for a duck, the home side were reeling at 17-4.

However, the middle order recovered thanks to Andy Carr, who hit a rapid 19 before falling to Brookes, and Hemmen Jutla (33), who added 66 for the sixth wicket in tandem with Gihan Pallage (39).

But Brookes dismissed both batsmen in quick succession and after that Highgate made short work of the tail, with Gourlay taking the wickets of Nandesh Patel (7) and Mitesh Vyas (0).

Jack Peck (1-19) then finished Bessborough off by bowling home captain Rohan Karkhanis (4) to leave the visitors with a target of 124 for victory.

That task proved to be comfortably within the capabilities of the Highgate batsmen, with openers Arul and Matt Holly putting together a partnership of 76.

Holly departed for 34, leg before to Karkhanis (1-25), but Arul advanced beyond his half-century, hitting seven fours and two sixes before he was caught behind off Nandesh Patel (1-49).

That was to be Bessborough’s last success, though, and Ramanayake blasted a quickfire 25 not out from just 17 balls to see Highgate home in the 26th over, with Callum Fraser undefeated on 10 at the other end.

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