Patel hails captain’s knock after exciting times continue for Crouch End

Captain Hiren Desai gives out instructions in the field for Crouch End (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Captain Hiren Desai gives out instructions in the field for Crouch End (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

The first-team at Calthorpe are not the only senior side involved in a promotion race

Pratik Patel talked up the efforts of Crouch End's captain Hiren Desai following Saturday's win over Middlesex County Division Two promotional foes Brentham.

Seven points separated the teams before play got underway at the weekend, but come the end of it the Calthorpe club had moved 19 clear at the summit.

Desai's 33, batting at number nine, proved crucial as Crouch End reached 130 from 30-6 and had Brentham all out for 77 with Ryan Cunningham claiming 6-24.

Patel said: "It was an absolute bunsen burner. It was a turning wicket and it wasn't easy to bat on because some turned and some went straight on.

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"We actually started well and were 30-1, but collapsed to 30-6 and it was down to our captain, one of the experienced guys in the side, to play a great knock.

"Together with James (Jenkins) they put on 45 for the eighth wicket, but crucially faced 166 balls overall and we knew batting time was key because it allowed the pitch to deteriorate more.

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"Once we got up to 130 we were confident we could win and it was a great effort by everyone and especially in a 12-point match."

Jenkins final score was only 10, but as vice-skipper Patel alluded to, it was the time he batted that was really invaluable.

After watching Brentham's spin-king Aparajit Khurana enjoy success, Crouch End saw their own left-armer Cunningham get to work in the second innings.

Backed up impressively by the consistent Patel, who picked up 4-32, it ensured the home side were dismissed for 77 in the encounter.

"James faced 100 balls for 10, but we need to use up our overs and let the pitch wear down," Patel added.

"Brentham's left-arm spinner, Khurana, is a very good player and they say he is one of the best in club cricket, but we backed our own left-arm spinner Ryan and he delivered and bowled better on the day in my opinion.

"Our coach Tom Scollay also took two brilliant one-handed catches in the slips, you don't normally see that at this level, so things did go for us and it was a brilliant result."

Crouch End are now 28 points clear of third-placed Hornsey and are close to securing promotion with five games left.

The first-team host Winchmore Hill this weekend while each of the club's three other senior sides are also battling for success in their respective divisions.

Patel concluded: "It's very exciting times and the race for promotion and the title is great, but we are still not looking at the table.

"We will probably have to in a few weeks, but we'll get through some more matches first before we do.

"Overall it's an exciting time to be at Crouch End, the first-team are doing well, the seconds are top, the thirds are in the running for promotion and fourth-team are first so everything is going great."

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