Patel feels Hornsey have turned the corner after winning draw against leaders

Hornsey’s Chetan Patel believes his side have turned the corner after they came close to inflicting a first defeat of the season on league leaders Eastcote in Division Two of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

The Tivoli Road side had lost their previous three matches – and it looked as if that would become four after they were put in to bat and collapsed to 60-6.

But a spirited rearguard action from the Hornsey tail, culminating in a last-wicket partnership of 41 between Neneto Davis and Kenny Tuitt, gave them a fighting chance.

And they nearly pulled off an unlikely victory as Eastcote’s middle order faltered before ninth-wicket pair Matt Savage and Avi Anand put up the shutters to salvage a point.

Batsman Patel, who was restricted to a spectator’s role by his injured hand, said: “With our key batsmen out and half the overs gone, we were all experiencing déjà vu from the previous couple of weeks.

“But the tail really wagged, with Ed Wharton, Nii Ollennu and Tom Waine – who’s only 17 and was making his debut – all scoring crucial runs.

“Then the final partnership, between Neneto and Kenny, was really the game-changer. They played really sensibly, picked their shots and also occupied the crease, which used up valuable overs.

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“It changed the whole dynamic because Eastcote were frustrated and we went out to bowl full of confidence. We have a good bowling attack and we felt we’d be able to defend 180.

“The important thing was that the bowling clicked – we kept coming at them and kept getting wickets at regular intervals. Every time we did that, the run-rate crept up.

“We needed to stop the rot after the previous three games – it was vital to end the losing streak and vital to stop them getting the win. This changes the momentum and our confidence is fully restored.”

Hornsey’s prospects looked bleak after their top order was blown away by Matt Savage (4-48) and James Corbett (5-54), with only Jack Bruce (15) and captain Garfield Struthers (11) getting into double figures.

But Wharton (28), Ollennu (36), and Waine (13) got the fightback under way before Davis, who was last man out for 36, and Tuitt (11 not out) nudged the Hornsey total up to 181 from 48.3 overs.

Despite that, Eastcote began the run chase well, with opener Aman Lotay hitting 51 and gaining support from Greg Fury (16), James Rosewarne (17) and Jawwad Rasheed (16).

However, Sean Solia – who took three wickets – put the brakes on, along with Tuitt, Davis and Ollennu, while Wharton and Bruce also performed well with the ball.

Requiring 30 from the last three overs, with just two wickets standing, Savage (28no) and Anand (7no) opted to block and secure a losing draw at 169-8 from 51 overs.