Highgate have Scott off to a strong start after Thaxton’s five-for

A five-wicket burst from Scott Thaxton got Highgate’s campaign off to a winning start in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League as hosts Harrow folded for 103.

Harrow, relegated from Division Two last season, looked handily placed at one stage in pursuit of a 200 target, but their tail collapsed as the last five wickets went down for just 15 runs.

Craig Gourlay laid the groundwork for Highgate’s victory with figures of 4-29 before Thaxton produced a devastating spell of 5-8 from five overs to finish the hosts off.

“It was most pleasing to contribute to an excellent win against a side we thought would be one of the strongest in our division,” said Thaxton.

“The day had not got off to the best of starts, with my exhaust dropping out of the car somewhere on the North Circular and my beloved Ipswich going down a goal early in the football!

“But thankfully things got much better from there on in. I really enjoyed bowling in tandem with Craig and it was good to see both of us executing our plans.”

Harrow won the toss and put their visitors in to bat, but opener Chris Arul struck a swift half-century, with two sixes and six fours in his innings of 51 from 44 balls.

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There were solid contributions all the way along the Highgate batting order, with captain Jake Sharland hitting 33, new overseas player Hashen Ramanayeke 16 and Marley Ali 23.

When Ali fell to Kalyan Tapariya (3-30), Highgate were wobbling slightly at 137-6, but a seventh-wicket stand of 40 between Gourlay (23) and wicketkeeper Philip Knott (24) ensured that the tail wagged.

After Ajay Patdiwala (3-34) had picked up the wickets of Gourlay and Freddie Barrass (7), Sharland declared at the end of the 52nd over with the total on 199-9.

Harrow made a steady start in reply, with Fathe Singh (10) and Uzair Mohammed (34) adding 38 for the first wicket before Barrass (1-18) made the breakthrough, having Singh caught by Arul.

Gourlay then began to make inroads, removing the other opener as well as Bhavesh Tapariya (5) and Zeejhan Adil and Mohamed Ghouse, both for ducks.

Akshay Powale (16) and Patdiwala (13) staged a brief recovery to lift Harrow to 88-5, but that was as good as it got for the home side, with Thaxton dismissing both in quick succession.

The Highgate bowler also accounted for Abid Javed (0), Kalyan Tapariya (7) and finally had Sami Haider caught by Sharland without scoring to wrap up victory by 96 runs.

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