Crouch End looking forward to derby battles next year in second tier

Crouch End celebrate clinching promotion (pic: Pratik Patel).

Crouch End celebrate clinching promotion (pic: Pratik Patel). - Credit: Archant

After winning back-to-back promotions, Hiren Desai’s team will be up against Highgate and Hornsey in 2019

Pratik Patel says Crouch End are already getting excited thinking about life in the Middlesex County League Division Two.

After securing promotion at the start of this month, attention has now turned to 2019 and what the club need to do to compete in the second tier.

The Calthorpe outfit will be in the same league as Highgate and Hornsey, who both play very close to Crouch End and it should make for a couple of spicy derby games next season.

Vice-captain Patel said: “We can’t wait for next year. Division Two is where the proper cricket starts. We have always felt that.

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“We have often been branded as not the worst team in our area, but the one who only really plays friendly cricket.

“I think we have been known as a club who could never compete, but now we are in the same league as Hornsey and Highgate.

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“Quickly things have changed for the better and now we really want to compete against those teams who play close to us.”

If Crouch End are to thrive in Division Two, they will hope for more heroics by Jalpesh Vijay.

The wicket-keeper, who opens the batting, scored six hundreds in Division Three which is a new Middlesex County League record.

On top of this, he also beat the most runs scored in a Middlesex County League season with 1,226 at an average of 87.57.

Vijay was the only batsmen in the Middlesex County League to wrack up more than a thousand runs in 2018 and was a class above the rest.

Fittingly he hit the promotion-clinching runs for Crouch End in their nine-wicket victory at home to North London on September 1.

It brought up his sixth century of the campaign, but vice-skipper Patel was quick to point out they are far from a one-man team.

Ryan Cunningham claimed 46 Division Three scalps for Crouch End while Patel and Amandeep Dhaliwal picked up 31 wickets each in 2018.

Patel added: “Jalpesh broke all the records. He beat the all-time runs record in Middlesex and beat the number of hundreds in a year as well, so he has smashed it.

“At times we have been called a one man team, but the rest of us have not had a chance. It is not a case where we have only one person who can get runs, it is just he has done a lot of batting, so it has been very difficult for anyone else to get in and get a big score.”

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