Middlesex County League Premier Division: Johan de Silva delighted with brave Highgate after landmark success over North Middlesex
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 May 2018
The Shepherd's Cot club chased down 333 against their local rivals at the weekend to win for the first time since promotion to the top flight
Saturday ended up being a monumental day for Highgate in the Middlesex County League Premier Division after Muz Ali’s team secured their maiden top flight victory at home to local rivals North Middlesex.
A thrilling encounter occurred at Shepherd’s Cot with 680 runs scored for the loss of just 15 wickets in the basking sunshine.
Having won the toss, Ali decided to put North Middlesex in to bat first and at halfway, it did not look the best of decisions.
The visitors were initially struggling on 28-3 after Middlesex bowler James Fuller (1-65) and Malik Sadiq (2-51) did some early damage.
But James Parslow (60) and Joe Cracknell put on 183 for the fourth wicket with the latter reaching three figures and finishing up with 121 off 95 balls.
Highgate’s Johan de Silva said: “Having won the toss, captain Ali elected to field – backing the team to chase the target set by local rivals North Middlesex.
“North Middlesex are a strong side so the early breakthroughs of Luke Hollman and Liam O’Driscoll were welcomed.
“O’Driscoll was removed by Middlesex contracted player James Fuller and it was a pleasure to have him play with us and we hope to see him back playing for the first-team soon when Middlesex commitments allow.
“Evan Flowers soon followed O’Driscoll and Hollman back to the pavilion, leaving North Midd in some trouble.
“However a magnificent innings from Joe Cracknell, ably supported by their overseas James Parslow, saw North Midd consolidate before they accelerated towards a commanding 332-7 at the close of the innings.
“There were useful contributions from Will Vanderspar (54) and Rob Fahrenheim (46), who scored at a rapid pace.”
At this stage Highgate were facing a huge task to chase down 333 and while it proved a big challenge, they managed it.
Liam Knight’s 105 laid a foundation for the hosts, along with Phil Knott’s 58, before Craig Gourlay held his nerve to see them over the line with an unbeaten 21.
“The team proved they were up to the challenge in the chase and produced a stunning display of batting to seal the result, despite losing some early wickets,” said de Silva.
“Will Bowley flayed 38 from 22 balls, including four 4s and three 6s, and this began to provide the momentum for the chase.
“It was excellent for all the team to see overseas Liam Knight notch up a stylish 105 from just 85 balls. Liam had a couple of unlucky dismissals during the first few league games, so to see him bounce back was great for all concerned.
“As we came closer to the target, useful contributions were made down the order with Phil Knott playing a fine hand with 58, and the game was finished off by Craig Gourlay, a first-team veteran, sealing the win with a towering six over long-on.”
It was a fitting finish to what had been a sensational game of cricket and one Highgate will not forget in a long while.