Middlesex County League round-up: Scantlebury inspires NL victory

Jonathan Scantlebury took five wickets on Saturday as North London turned a seemingly indefensible score of 147 into a winning total against South Hampstead.

NL endured a nightmare innings as six of their batsmen failed to reach double figures, and an embarrassing defeat was on the cards as they fell short of 150 after 48 overs.

However, the bowlers responded after tea to secure an unlikely victory, with Scantlebury (5-53) and Byron Hackshall (4-41) sharing nine wickets between them as SH were dismissed for just 110 in 38 overs.

North London were asked to bat at Milverton Road – and the visitors were quickly in trouble as Jamal Ahmed (3-29) removed Matt Hoyle (0) and Ben Wakeford (2).

Byron Hackshall came in at No3 and added 27 with Jack Godfrey Wood (6), but the partnership ended all too soon as the latter was caught by Alex Ranger off Kirk Drummond.

NL were looking to their incoming captain for inspiration, but Askew was bowled for a duck as Drummond (3-42) struck again.

Hackshall’s stand was halted as he was caught by Habib Akram off Ahmed for 27, and when Nish Patel (2-6) bowled Rajesh Singh (9), North London were 54-6.

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Resistance came in the form of James Kee (30) and Tom Wakeford (27), who shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 45 – but when Wakeford was bowled by Nayan Doshi (2-30), NL were still short of 100 at 99-7.

Neil Gill came in and set about boosting the target, taking NL up to 146-9 with Kee (30) and Richard Hall (4).

However when Hall was caught by Majid Akram off Doshi, last man Scantlebury followed for a duck, leaving Gill stranded on an unbeaten 30 – the joint top score – as NL were dismissed for 147.

Mark Askew’s side were set for their first defeat of the season as they took to the field after tea – but, just 38 overs later, they were celebrating a 37-run victory.

Scantlebury struck early to dismiss Junaid Choudry (0), who was caught by Gill. And, when Hackshall caught and bowled Paul Atherley (6), a landslide quickly followed as 24-2 became 36-6.

Ranger (16) went the same way as his fellow opener Choudry, caught by Gill off Scantlebury – and Hackshall then bowled Edward Williams (1) and Nish Patel (0), before Kee caught Habib Akram (2) off Scantlebury.

NL were closing in on victory and, although the tail end offered more resistance than the top order, the wickets continued to tumble.

Scantlebury caught and bowled Doshi (14), and Hackshall cleaned out Avnish Patel (14) before Scantlebury caught Majid Akram (19) off Tom Wakeford (1-10).

Ahmed remained unbeaten on 25 but that was the top score for his side, and SH’s chase ended on 107 as Hackshall bowled Drummond for a duck to seal a valuable 10 points for North London.

Meanwhile, NORTH MIDDLESEX picked up an encouraging four points despite rain hampering their run chase at Harrow on Saturday.

Chasing 192 from 45 overs, North Mid looked to be in with a chance of victory when the big-hitting Maxwell Creese and Adam Holmes were togther on 84-2.

However, a clatter of wickets and darkening skies soon saw the Park Road club refocus their attentions to reaching 151 and taking the four points.

That was a task they duly managed, largely thanks to the efforts of Holmes, who hit a fine 60, Creese (29) and man of the match Darren Eckford.

Eckford calmed any jitters after North Mid had stumbled to 107-5, and remained unbeaten on 37 at the close, having guided his side beyond the four-point requirement.

Earlier he had also been the pick of the visitors’ bowlers after hosts Harrow had opted to bat, a decision they were soon regretting.

Dexter Thomas and James Nightingale both produced fiery opening spells, with Thomas sending back the dangerous Dave Walker cheaply and then No3 Karia first ball.

Eckford then took two quick wickets and when Nightingale dismissed Patdiwala the home side were struggling on 78-5.

However a 50-partnership for the sixth wicket allayed fears of a total collapse, and they moved beyond 150 before Umar Malik (2-32) and two more wickets for Eckford (4-40) saw them declare on 191-9 from 55 overs.

That was a total that looked within North Mid’s reach even after the early loss of skipper Evan Flowers for five.

Ultimately they ran out of time and overs, but could be satisfied with the four points even if it sees them remain in the bottom two in the early-season table.

Elsewhere, Anthony Murphy notched an unbeaten 123 at the weekend – but HORNSEY had to settle for a winning draw after their chase for victory was halted by the rain.

Hornsey captain Chetan Patel won the toss in west London and asked his hosts to bat first – and his decision had immediate results.

Acton quickly slumped to a disastrous 7-4 as Oli Yew (1-29) and Martin Tucker

(2-35) quickly found their rhythm.

The home side’s middle order rallied but, when Matthew Reeve (21) was caught behind by Alex Scrini off Bhasker Patel (3-88) and Tucker caught James Hunt (32) off Paul Weekes (1-57), the hosts were still in deep trouble at 85-6.

However, Acton’s tail got their team-mates out of jail, staging a stunning fightback with Bharat Bhushan (30), Alex Brennan (84) and Ali Ahmed (56) taking their side to a total of 248-9 from their allotted 55 overs.

Hornsey’s reply began badly as opener James Bull was caught for a duck, but that brought No3 Murphy to the crease.

The 22-year-old Australian added 71 for the second wicket with Deepesh Makwana (24), and reached his half-century just before his partner was trapped lbw.

Murphy also enjoyed a profitable partnership with Weekes, with the pair adding 93 for the fourth wicket and taking Hornsey to 168.

Weekes departed leg before to John Reeve (2-40), who then had Martin Tucker caught for a duck.

With the clouds gathering, Hornsey passed the score for the four-point winning draw.

As Murphy reached 123 from the same number of balls alongside Sam Hickingbotham (8 not out), 62 runs were needed from seven overs to win – with six wickets in hand.

The stage was set for a thrilling finale, but as the rain came down the umpires halted proceedings, forcing Hornsey to settle for the draw.

Basement boys HIGHGATE avoided defeat in Division Two for the first time this season, but had to make do with a losing draw away at Enfield.

Having scored 226 the previous week, Ed Binns’ side showed good form with the bat again to record their second biggest score of the campaign so far.

Jared Treadway notched an unbeaten 85 and former captain Craig Gourlay hit a half-century as Highgate set a respectable total of 225-8 from their maximum allowance of 55 overs, despite the bowling of Khuram Pervez (5-56).

However, it was Enfield who came away with the lion’s share of the points, with the hosts reaching 180-8 after 42 overs of their reply – when rain ended the match.

That leaves Highgate bottom of the table, nine points behind North Middlesex – who are also in the relegation zone – and already 10 points from safety after four league fixtures.

Binns’ outfit – who have been deducted two league points for fielding an ineligible player – host seventh-placed Harrow at Shepherd’s Cot on Saturday.

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