Highgate move 22 points clear at the top after victory over Kenton

Hashen Ramanayake and Ed Foster bowled Highgate to victory as the Division Three table-toppers stretched their lead to a commanding 22 points in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Ramanayake – who missed out on his century by just four runs – took out his frustration on the Kenton batsmen with four wickets, while Foster returned his first five-wicket haul of the campaign.

Highgate skipper Jake Sharland won the toss and chose to bat – but that decision looked questionable when his side lost both openers with just three runs on the board.

Mohammed Shafiq had Ben Sudell caught behind for a duck, while Callum Fraser (2) was bowled by Roshan Patel before Sharland and Ramanayake rebuilt the innings with a third-wicket stand of 101.

The captain reached 45 before he gave Kalpesh Keria a return catch, but Nick Brunner (44) offered Ramanayake sterling support as Highgate advanced towards 200.

Baqar Rizvi (3-44) slowed the visitors’ progress with the wickets of Brunner and Will Brookes (1), but Ramanayake continued towards what seemed an inevitable ton.

However, Shafiq took the catch to dismiss him for 96 and Matt Holly’s 17 not out, coupled with Foster’s unbeaten 20 from only six deliveries, enabled Highgate to declare at the end of the 50th over.

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Ramanayake gave his side the perfect start when Kenton replied, bowling Keria first ball and he continued to make further inroads in tandem with Foster.

Deepak Singh (9) and Rizvi (0) fell to Ramanayake (4-30), while Foster (5-67) picked up the wickets of Rishi Toor (8) and Ashish Karia (16) to leave Kenton wilting at 49-5.

The home side were given renewed hope by an attacking innings from Charles Erdwin, who hit 10 fours and seven sixes as he blazed 90 from just 46 balls.

Kanti Vaghtiani (31) helped Erdwin to add 55 before he was bowled by Holly (1-26), but Viraj Patel kept the hard-hitting all-rounder company in a partnership of 66.

Foster tipped the balance back in Highgate’s favour, removing Erdwin and following that up with the wickets of Ankit Shah (4) and Patel (20) before Ramanayake sealed victory by bowling Shafiq (3) in the 37th over.