Praise for North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll as he hits a ton and takes eight wickets
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll has entered his name into the Middlesex County League’s record books after scoring a century and taking eight wickets in a stunning individual display.
Batting first, North Midd were struggling at 27-3 at home against basement boys Eastcote on Saturday – but Nicoll blasted 124 at a run a ball, supported by Evan Flowers (52) and Mitch Murray (62), to lead his side to a declaration at 308-9.
The 26-year-old then took charge with the ball too, recording figures of 8-72 to bowl the visitors out for 193.
Only once since records began in 2001 has a player eclipsed such an effort in the County League – Matt Creese scored an unbeaten 111 and took 9-65 for Southgate in Division Two in 2011.
North Midd secretary Rob Brand said: “This was as commanding a performance by an individual for the Midd as I can recall. Tom’s talent has been obvious since he was a young colt here, and when everything clicks into place he is terrific to watch.”
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Brand’s son Nick has played with Nicoll for more than 15 years, at Highgate School and then North Middlesex, and he believes the skipper produced his best ever display on Saturday.
“Given the competition, being in the Middlesex Premier League, it’s probably the best,” he said. “I’ve seen some pretty special performances – he once took five wickets for no runs in a school match I remember – but given the calibre of the opposition, this one is almost certainly the best.
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“There was a bet with the club coach that the first person to score 100 this season would get a bottle of whisky, so that was promptly ready for him when we finished the game – but I think there’ll have to be something extra special for this as well.
“It was thrilling and it was nice to be there, having played with him for so many years. It was great to be able to share that performance.
“He’s definitely always been a very strong batsman and he became a leg-spinner around the age of 16 or 17. He took to it quite naturally and has been developing it ever since.
“I think other senior members of the North Midd side have been encouraging him to bowl more, and obviously performances like Saturday’s kind of justify that!”
Nick Brand added: “He’s a good captain too. He’s very passionate and wears his heart on his sleeve. I think he’s definitely grown into it in the last couple of years.
“When he started off he was probably only 23 or something, so to be captaining at that level at that age is probably quite a bit of pressure. But he’s obviously got a good cricketing brain and he knows what he’s doing.”