Middlesex County League: Hornsey skipper targets another promotion

All the action and reaction from the weekend as we go around the grounds with Hornsey, Highgate, North Middlesex and North London.

Hornsey skipper Chetan Patel is adamant that his side can win a second successive promotion after the Tivoli Road outfit swatted Enfield aside on Saturday.

Hornsey, who won the Division Three title last summer, dismissed their visitors for a lowly 105 in Crouch End, and reached their target with just three wickets down after 20.5 overs.

That left the home side fourth in Division Two, with two wins and just one narrow defeat from their opening five fixtures.

And Patel admits that he and his team-mates are eyeing the Premier Division after quickly establishing themselves as an ambitious force in the second tier.

“The ambition at the start of the season was to win the league and that hasn’t changed – we’re just more confident now,” said the skipper.

“We’ve played two of the top three teams already and we’ve competed in every game. If we’d had the rub of the green we’d be in the top two promotion places now.

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“The rain fell against Acton in our last match, when we needed 60 runs to win from seven overs, and we would have got home if we’d been able to finish.

“We lost on the last ball of the match against Southgate, and we had Shepherd’s Bush nine wickets down and had a big lbw shout turned down. If a couple of those results had gone in our favour we’d be right up there.

“When you go up to a new division you always wonder whether you’ll be out of your depth, but we’ve proved that we’re not out of our depth at all. I always said that we could compete at this level, or above, and we’re showing that now.”

Patel won the toss on his home ground and inserted Enfield. The visitors looked ominous early on, racing to 27 without loss from three overs, but the turning point came early on as Oli Yew took a fine catch at full stretch at extra cover to dismiss opener Neill Tilley.

That started the rot and Adrian Fawden (3-15), Paul Weekes (3-16) and Martin Tucker (3-23) did the damage, with Joel Gregory (1-30) getting the other as Enfield fell apart and totalled 105 after 40.3 overs.

There were no such problems for Hornsey after tea and James Bull (41) and Aussie Anthony Murphy (23) laid the foundations before Weekes (27 not out) and Sam Hickingbotham (10no) finished the job after just 20.5 overs, ending the match before 5pm.

Having already tested themselves against the pacesetters, Southgate and Shepherd’s Bush, Hornsey have the luxury of facing the league’s basement boys this weekend.

The opposition are certainly familiar as Patel’s side head down the road to visit local rivals Highgate, who have lost four of their opening five games in Division Two after following Hornsey out of the third tier last season.

“We always look forward to a local derby and this is no different,” said Patel. “We’re definitely backing ourselves to win.”

It was a familiar story for basement boys HIGHGATE as they reached a decent total but were comfortably beaten, slumping to their fifth defeat in six games.

Ed Binns’ side had totalled 226 and 225 in their previous two matches but had lost the first and only picked up a losing draw in the second.

It was a similar tale on Saturday against Harrow as Highgate set a target of 220 – but were defeated again.

Inserted into bat, James Warburton notched a half century and Jared Treadway top scored with 62 as the hosts declared on 220-9 after their maximum allocation of 55 overs.

However, Highgate ended up pointless again as David Walker (63) and Ajay Patdiwala (63 not out) helped Harrow to a four-wicket victory after 36.3 overs.

Elsewhere, Southgate are already looking like the team to catch in Division Two, and they proved far too strong for NORTH MIDDLESEX at Park Road.

The visitors made it five wins from five games so far this season, and were in total control from the moment they won the toss and asked North Mid to bat on Saturday.

The hosts lost opener Adam Holmes early on for six when he nicked one behind off Arshad Bhatti, but then looked to have set a decent platform through Alex Hill and skipper Evan Flowers.

The pair saw Mid to 52-1 before Flowers fell for 22 to Bhatti, and the home side never looked too comfortable again as Maxwell Crease was immediately run out for a duck.

Hill had made a patient 31 before he fell leg before to Chathuranga Kumara, and when Jaron Semper fell for 30 the innings subsided from 114-5 to 149 all out despite 16 from No10 Amir Mapara.

Kumara was the pick of the visiting attack, his 3-21 coming from 10.5 overs.

A target of 150 was never going to be enough to test the leaders, and so it proved as they needed just 36 overs to reach it, with James Watkins (45) and Tom Allan (46 not out) the mainstays of a total of 150-2.

North Mid remain in the bottom two alongside neighbours Highgate, and are going to need to improve ahead of Saturday’s visit to second-placed Shepherd’s Bush.

In Division Three, NORTH LONDON subsided to a hugely disappointing defeat against Wembley, having seemingly been set for victory.

Byron Hackshall’s brilliant bowling display, taking 7-53, left NL to chase a very gettable 178 for victory in 54 overs.

But it proved beyond them as wickets fell consistently, and they eventually failed to even hold out for a point, being bowled out for 123 in 51 overs.

The result saw Wembley leapfrog NL in the Division Three table, and they now face a tough trip to leaders Uxbridge this weekend.

They could have been heading west just two points behind the top club, but a lack of batting strength again proved their undoing on Saturday after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat at Shepherd’s Cot.

Hackshall was immediately among the wickets, trapping the first three Wembley batsmen lbw, and having a fourth caught by Bill Ward.

The visitors’ Zach Scott was the only batsman to master the unpredictable track, and his 54 was to prove the match-winning innings – indeed it was ultimately the exact margin of victory.

Ted Greally removed him and two others to end with figures of 3-36, and Hackshall polished off the tail to take seven wickets in total.

NL knew batting would not be easy and they lost opener Matt Hoyle immediately as Wembley’s Junaid Azar extracted pace and bounce from the surface.

Richard Hall (21) and Hackshall (18) steadied the ship, but their departures were quickly followed by those of Jack Godfrey-Wood and Ben Wakeford for ducks, and at five down for under 50 NL were in trouble.

The lower order had no trouble staying at the crease, but run scoring was the problem as Tom Wakeford (21), Rajesh Singh (17) and Greally (16) all hung around but could not force a miserly scoring rate upwards.

And NL were three overs from safety when Azar returned to dismiss Ward and last man Jon Scantlebury to give all 10 points to Wembley.

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