Big-hitting batsmen boost North Middlesex promotion charge
- Credit: Max Flego
Four batsmen hit half-centuries as North Midd routed Ickenham to clinch their sixth win in a row and stretch their lead at the top.
Sam Webber and Evan Flowers both passed 50 before skipper Tom Nicoll and John Mills flayed the Ickenham bowling with unbeaten half-centuries of their own.
North Midd’s towering total of 305-3 declared was well beyond the visitors’ reach and Webber captured four wickets as they were shot out for just 103.
That resounding victory lifted North Midd 18 points clear of their closest challengers Brondesbury and Nicoll said: “It is great to have put more daylight between us and our promotion rivals.
“Sam gave our innings impetus right from the start, the other batsmen were all in good touch, and our bowling was impressive as a unit. On this form we will be hard to beat.”
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Ickenham won the toss at Park Road and sent the home side in – a decision they soon had cause to regret as Webber, promoted up the order, attacked the bowling with relish.
Webber (55) and Adam Holmes (31) put on 96 for the first wicket before Steve Gibson (2-70) made the breakthrough by dismissing both batsmen in quick succession.
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But Flowers and Nicoll picked up the baton as they added 105 – a partnership that was ended only by a direct hit from Paul Sims to remove Flowers for 53.
However, there was no respite for the demoralised bowlers as Mills struck a blistering 63 not out and Nicoll finished unbeaten with an elegant 84, declaring after just 40 overs.
With heavy rain forecast, the Midd bowlers needed to run through their opponents’ batting line-up as quickly as possible – and Webber (4-41) set the tone by capturing three early wickets.
The all-rounder had Ross Berti (8) caught behind and then bowled Dylan Goldstone for a duck before taking a return catch off Charith Gunasekara (10), reducing Ickenham to 19-3.
Tom Nicoll (2-12) kept the pressure on with the wickets of George Bensted (9) and Richard Crompton (0), while only Sam Bensted (26) offered much resistance.
He eventually fell to Nicoll’s younger brother Will, whose off-breaks also accounted for Vrushant Patel (12) and Sims (0) as he finished with 3-9 from just 10 deliveries, wrapping up the innings in the 29th over.