Cricket: North Middlesex skipper Joel Hughes wants teams to challenge for Middlesex County Premier Division title ahead of opener at Ealing

The new cricket season is now upon us (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

The new cricket season is now upon us (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Park Road club begin league campaign at defending champions this weekend

North Middlesex skipper Joel Hughes has set the squad the target of challenging for the Middlesex County Premier Division ahead of their opening game at Ealing on Saturday.

Last season saw the Park Road outfit finish third in the table, 40 points behind Ealing who were crowned champions.

Saturday will be a good test of North Midd’s title credentials as they visit the defending champions.

And Hughes says his team will be looking to be among the frontrunners in the top flight this term.

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“We’re always striving to win the league, but it comes down to being consistent and player availability,” said Hughes.

“We’re looking to be a bit more consistent with the bat this season, but we’ve been in the top three in recent seasons so we’ve been there or thereabouts.

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“I believe in the next two to three years, we can win the league and with a bit of luck, hopefully this year may be our year.”

North Midd have a crop of promising youngsters coming through their ranks, including Ethan Bamber and Luke Hollman.

The pair played extensively for the club’s first XI last summer and also represented England at the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, while Bamber has signed professional terms with Middlesex.

Hughes is expecting big things from the young pair, and says there are other talented youngsters to look out for this season.

“The likes of Luke and Ethan will play a big role for us this season,” he added.

“Luke will open the batting and his bowling is improving with every week. If he can get off to a good start, he’ll have a good season.

“Ethan will miss a few games because he is at university, but he’s a good lad and a promising cricketer.

“We’ve also got players like Max Harris, Joe Cracknell and Hugh Teesdale coming through, which bodes well for the future.”

Hughes has taken over as skipper from Tom Nicoll this season, but will miss the Ealing game through injury, with James Parslow leading North Midd instead.

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