North Middlesex slip to third after Southgate avoid defeat

North Middlesex slipped to third in the table, dropping 14 points behind the leaders after falling agonisingly short of a victory at Southgate in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

A captain’s knock from Tom Nicoll (60) helped North Midd to declare on 237-9, and they then had their hosts on the ropes at 164-9 with nine overs left – but David Woffinden (19 not out) and Ashley Sivarajah (20no) dug in to avoid defeat.

Nicoll elected to take first knock on a slightly damp wicket and saw Connor Nurse caught for a duck, while Joe Cracknell went for 22. But Will Vanderspar (59) and Evan Flowers (34) put the visitors back on track with a 70-run partnership and, when Flowers departed, Nicoll helped to maintain the momentum.

Vanderspar was caught behind and Sam Webber could only muster 10 as Southgate spinners Mohammed Abid (4-48) and Sivarajah (2-82) slowed the scoring rate while taking wickets.

But Nicoll and Adam Holmes put on 51 together and, when Nicoll was stumped, his brother Will Nicoll (3), Joel Hughes (1), Ethan Bamber (3) and Ed Bird (4no) tried to add quick runs alongside Holmes (24no) before the declaration at 237-9 after 62 overs.

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Southgate initially reached 97-1 in reply thanks to Lasith Lakshan (38), James Thompson (41) and Michael Stevens (16), but spin duo Nurse (4-50) and Tom Nicoll (3-68) led the assault as they lost eight wickets for just 67 runs.

Just one more was needed, but Southgate’s final pair of Woffinden and Sivarajah proved immovable.

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Meanwhile North Midd will bid to retain their Middlesex T20 Cup when they face Ealing in the final tomorrow (Thursday).

They beat Harrow St Mary’s by six wickets in the last four on Tuesday, chasing down 101 in a reduced 12-over match with Flowers (37) the top scorer.

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