Middlesex County League: Hornsey are Bhask-ing in derby win over Highgate

Hornsey youngster Bhasker Patel took eight wickets to inspire a derby win over basement boys Highgate at Shepherds Cot on Saturday, and close the gap on all of the teams above them.

Twenty-year-old spinner Patel recorded breathtaking figures of 8-52 as Highgate were skittled for 173 on their home turf, and a vital captain’s knock from Chetan Patel (51 not out) helped the visitors to reach their target with three wickets in hand.

Chetan Patel won the toss and inserted Highgate on a wet, green wicket – a decision which seemed to have backfired early on as his opening bowlers, Martin Tucker (1-66) and Joel Gregory (0-27), struggled with their footing in the damp conditions.

Highgate’s Nasirul Alam and James Warburton also took a liking to off-spinner Adrian Fawden, and took Highgate to 70 without loss.

However, on a pitch that was conducive to turn, left-arm spinner Bhasker Patel came into his own.

At times he appeared to be unplayable and the wickets tumbled as Alam (28) and Warburton (47) were swiftly followed by Alan Crawford (6), Hamad-Ul Hasan (4) and skipper Eddie Binns (4).

Craig Gourlay fared rather better and counter-attacked well, but his partners failed to match his resilience.

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Matthew Holly could only muster four runs and Hornsey wicketkeeper Alex Scrini stumped Hamza Najib for a duck before Nicholas Butler (8) was caught by Joel Gregory off Bkasker Patel.

Gourlay (44) was still threatening to take the hosts beyond par, but his resistance was finally broken by a boundary side catch from Sam Hickingbotham, leaving Highgate at 156-9.

Syed Karrar (16no) added useful runs before tea, but the innings ended when Scrini caught Tony Duckett (1) behind after 45.1 overs.

The wicket suited Highgate’s bowling and although Duckett gave little away, recording 1-11 from his eight overs, the attack revolved around the spin duo of Gourlay (3-89) and Karrar (3-56).

Gregory (14) was used as a pinch hitter and he had a furious start, taking Hornsey to 20 off the first two overs – but the makeshift opener was caught at long-off trying one shot too many, and James Bull (3) was caught at the same position in the following over as 20-1 became 29-2.

Sam Hickingbotham (13) and Anthony Murphy (26) were both looking good before untimely dismissals, and the tension increased as Garfield Struthers (9) and James Fleming (6) failed to reach double figures.

An upset was on the cards as Fleming’s exit at 105-7 left Hornsey 69 runs short with three wickets in hand – but fortunately the captain was at the crease.

Chetan Patel seized control and remained unbeaten, passing his 50 in the process with able support from Tucker (17) and then Alex Scrini, whose rapid-fire cameo helped Hornsey to cross the finish line after 43 overs.

The victors’ day got even better when they learned that the three teams above them had all drawn.

The top two sides, Southgate and Shepherd’s Bush, go head-to-head on Saturday, while Hornsey host Harrow. Chetan Patel’s side will also now be hoping for a favour from Highgate, who visit third-placed Brentham.

Meanwhile, NORTH MIDDLESEX were left rueing an injury to Adam Holmes as they surrendered a commanding position and ended up with just one point.

Holmes retired injured at Shepherd’s Bush’s Bromyard Avenue home, having made 47 and helped North Mid to 103-1 as the visitors chased 230 – or 204 for a winning draw.

Unfortunately, Holmes’ departure had a profound effect as wickets rapidly tumbled. And, although his team-mates never really looked like losing, the slower run-rate meant North Mid had to settle for a losing draw, which keeps them in the bottom two.

The visitors won the toss in west London and elected to bowl. Shepherd’s Bush made steady progress, with Tom Stone (71 not out) top scoring, while stand-in captain and wicketkeeper Dan Davis notched 56 as the hosts declared on 229-8 after 53 overs.

Jaron Semper was the pick of North Mid’s bowlers, recording figures of 3-51 from 17 overs, while Darren Eckford (2-76) and Nick Packard (1-29) also played their part.

The visitors made a strong start to their reply as Holmes and Alex Hill passed 100, but the situation changed as Hill (50) was caught off Tim Howard (4-42), Holmes retired hurt and Amir Mapara (2) went cheaply.

Joe Hewton (8) and Jaron Semper (38) added 37 for the third wicket but the runs were coming too slowly, an issue which was exacerbated as wickets continued to fall.

Hewton (8) and Semper (38) were followed by Darren Eckford (5), and 169-5 became 169-5 as Dexter Thomas departed for a duck, leaving Anthony Holloway (15 no) and Zulfi Azom (6) at the crease as the allotted overs ran out.

In Division Three, an unbeaten knock of 79 from Mark Askew was not enough to secure victory for NORTH LONDON as familiar failings cost them against second-placed Uxbridge.

As was the case against Wembley the previous week, a lack of batting quality hampered NL, with only Askew and Ian Johns making a real impression.

Batting first, they suffered early blows as Byron Hackshall (9) and Frankie Fraser (2) went cheaply.

Johns made 36 before he was trapped lbw by Matt Dampier (5-45), while Richard Hall suffered an identical fate having reached 15.

Askew anchored the innings, but his partners fell around him as Rajesh Singh (12) and James Kee (11) were followed by Ted Greally (5), Ben Wakeford (0) and Bill Ward (0).

Uxbridge were also mediocre with the bat, but three decent scores proved to be enough for a winning draw.

Jonathan Scantlebury (1-34) trapped Prabhjot Singh (8) lbw early on, and Hackshall bowled No3 Safian Muhammad (7).

However, opener Malkeet Dhaliwal made 33 and Preetinder Singh added 29, while Mike Stafford notched an important 45 not out.

These proved to be key contributions as Hackshall (4-51) wiped out the tail – and NL had to settle for a point.

Elsewhere, in the Middlesex Championship, ALEXANDRA PARK held onto top spot in Division Two after winning their top-of-the-table clash with second-placed New Calypsonians.

Asked to bat, AP were in trouble early on after finding themselves 13-4, but the in-form middle-order pair of Samir Patel (59) and Danushka Kuweja (44) added 90 for the fifth wicket.

Mark Campbell’s unbeaten 21 was a welcome addition. And, after tea, Nigel Bagley (3-60) led the way with the ball, while further wickets from Ricardo Kirton (2), Tim Dyer (2) and spinner Munish Grover (2-5) helped AP to victory.