North Middlesex bowler demolishes league leaders Teddington with eight-wicket haul
Paceman Ed Bird produced career-best figures to shock Middlesex County League leaders Teddington and fire North Middlesex clear of the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Bird tore through the Teddington batting to finish with 8-44 and dent the visitors’ title charge as they were rolled over for just 99, with North Midd scrambling home by four wickets.
That victory, the third in their last four games – and the second time they have beaten the league front-runners in that period – finally lifted North Midd out of the bottom two.
Skipper Tom Nicoll said: “Clearly the stand-out performer was Ed Bird, who bowled wonderfully, but I was pleased with the way the team backed themselves and we are now feeling great for the rest of the year.”
Nicoll won the toss and elected to field on a surface that had been pounded by heavy overnight rain, but his side squandered an opportunity in Bird’s first over when two fielders collided to give Teddington’s Harry Bush a let-off.
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However, any nerves engendered by that drop were soon calmed as Bird had Bush (10) caught by Will Cracknell and Joel Hughes (2-28) removed Teddington skipper James Keightley (8) leg before.
Bird and Hughes then switched ends and that proved to be a smart move as the former, bowling with pace and accuracy, picked up another four wickets in quick succession before lunch.
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Tom Twiney (16) was caught behind, with Tom Ullyott (4) dismissed lbw and James Wade (3) and Will Rist (2) both bowled as Teddington slid to 75-6.
Ben Williams, who struck 35 from 61 balls, was the only batsman to offer much resistance, but he became Bird’s sixth victim after the interval and Duncan Wood (4) soon followed, caught behind.
Hughes got in on the act, dismissing Ben Ladd-Gibbon (9), but it was Bird who rounded off the innings in the 37th over with his eighth wicket, bowling Elliot Hannah (4).
North Midd started promisingly in reply, with Connor Nurse and Michael Clements putting on 26 for the first wicket before Hannah (4-37) got rid of both openers in rapid succession.
However, Evan Flowers (26) and Adam Holmes (19) put the home side back on track, guiding them to 66-2 – only for a flurry of wickets to set the nerves jangling.
Wood (2-17) accounted for Flowers and Tom Nicoll (5), while Hannah dismissed Holmes and then had Hughes caught behind without scoring as North Midd sank to 71-6.
Teddington began to sense the chance of an unlikely victory, but John Mills (17 not out) and Will Nicoll (11no) dug in with an unbroken partnership of 32 to steer their side to a memorable win.