North Middlesex are out of the title race after third straight defeat

North Middlesex’s lingering title hopes were dashed as a disappointing batting display condemned them to a third successive defeat, leaving captain Tom Nicoll targeting a third-place finish in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Joel Hughes (3-27) led the way with the ball as North Midd restricted their visitors to 229 in Crouch End, but their chase never got off the ground.

The early departures of Hughes (1) and Will Vanderspar (0) left them 14-2, and although Evan Flowers struck 77 off 83 balls – including eight fours and two sixes – his partners could not stay with him.

North Midd lost three wickets for six runs as Nicoll (5), Sam Webber (5) and Joe Hewton (0) all fell to Chamika Karunaratne (3-29), leaving their side 70-6. And, although Connor Nurse (23) and Adam Holmes (24) offered some resistance, the hosts fell 64 runs short.

North Midd were consequently overtaken by Stanmore, dropping to fifth in the table, and are now 31 points off the top with three games left.

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“The result was very disappointing after our bowlers worked hard to contain Stanmore to 229,” said Nicoll.

“Evan Flowers led the way with another great knock, but generally our batters are lacking in confidence.

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“We still have a chance of achieving our best ever Premier League position, beating last year’s fourth place.

“Looking across the senior teams, our improvement this season is clear. Our second team lie second in the top division of the second XI leagues, and our third string are clear at the top of the third XI league structure after eight wins in a row. The fourth and fifth teams are also chasing top-two finishes so there is plenty to play for.”

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