North Middlesex rue failure to maintain the pressure in defeat against Richmond

North Middlesex were left regretting their failure to maintain the pressure with bat and ball as they lost to Richmond by 54 runs in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

North Midd had their visitors 97-5 and then 152-8 but Andrew Lowe (111) got the visitors out of jail, helping them to a total of 250. The home side were then in a good position at 160-4 in reply but were bowled out for less than 200.

Captain Tom Nicoll elected to bowl and it looked to be an inspired decision as Richmond were restricted to fewer than 20 runs from the first 10 overs, while Sam Webber (4-51) dismissed Gregor Paterson (10) and Bhavesh Pankhania (6).

When Joel Hughes (2-51) removed Joe Smith (9), Richmond were 27-3 – and, although David Burton (30) and Jack Porter (42) added 66 together, Webber prised out Porter and his replacement Greg King (1) to leave them 97-5.

Burton stuck around to face 114 balls but he was eventually dismissed lbw by Tom Nicoll (2-74) in the 46th over, and Daniel Fryer (1) and Tom Hemingway (4) swiftly followed, leaving Richmond 152-8.

However overseas player Lowe, who was batting with a broken thumb, took the game away from the hosts. The scoring rate increased as the wicket flattened, the boundaries flowed, and 120-7 quickly became 200-8. By the time Lowe was eventually removed after 64.4 overs, Richmond had reached 250.

Adam Holmes (20), 15-year-old Joe Cracknell (42) and Will Vanderspar (29) took North Midd to 83-1 in reply. And, although they then lost three wickets for 19 runs, Sam Webber came to the crease and hit a brisk 34 off 27 balls with Evan Flowers (34) to take the hosts to 160-4.

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But when Webber was trapped leg before, the balance of the match swung. Flowers was caught on the boundary soon after, followed by Nick Brand (2) and Connor Nurse (4).

When Joe Hewton (11) was bowled, North Midd needed 30 runs from 10 overs to gain the winning draw – but they were down to their last pair.

And, although Hughes (5) and Ed Bird (4) scored some quick runs, Hughes was bowled in the 49th over.

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