North Middlesex captain aims to regain last season’s momentum as he targets top-three finish
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll is hoping to take last season’s momentum into the new campaign, which starts on May 9, and push into the top three spots.
North Midd were promoted to the Premier Division in 2013 and, after being bottom of the pile at the halfway mark, surged up the table to secure an impressive fifth-place finish.
“Last year we ended on a high, winning seven of our last 10 games, and we also won the Middlesex T20 Cup,” said Nicoll. “I’m hoping that form will continue into the coming season and see us pushing further up the league table.
“I’d hope for the top three – we’re confident and we’ve got a good team this year. I think the change of format suits us too, with half of the fixtures being 50-over matches.
“There’ll be a power play with fielding restrictions, and our top six batsmen are quite aggressive so I think we can capitalise on that. The other thing is each bowler can only have 10 overs so you have to use at least five different ones, and we’ve got a lot of all-rounders.”
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There have only been three new additions, with the club keeping their faith in last year’s squad.
Will Vanderspar has arrived from Brondesbury, who were relegated from the Premier Division last term, while 26-year-old all-rounder Liam O’Driscoll has also signed for the club and Sam Webber has returned as the overseas player.
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“Will played here for eight years from the age of seven,” said Nicoll. “He’s trying to pursue a career as a professional so the move is partly due to him needing to play in the Premier Division, and partly coming back to the club where he learned to play cricket as a kid.
“Liam is a very talented all-rounder, and we have Sam returning from Australia. He’s a fast opening bowler and aggressive left-hand bat who helped us win promotion in 2013.
“We have several other promising new recruits but will, as always at the Midd, build our side around a core of players who got us to where we are now.
“We will also work hard to integrate the young talent coming through from our academy into our senior sides, and give them every chance to show what they can do.
“We have a new three-lane net facility and various other improvements compared with last year, and all in all the club feels in good shape. We’re eagerly waiting for the action to start!”
North London estate agents Benham & Reeves are sponsoring North Middlesex for the third consecutive year, and they handed over this season’s branded shirt at the club’s Park Road ground on Saturday.
“I think they’ve increased the money this year and it’s helped to buy the new scoreboard, which went up at the weekend, and the new nets,” said Nicoll. “They also give us added incentives and bonuses for if we win the league and things like that, which all helps.”