Crouch End not in Division Two to make up the numbers

Crouch End players celebrate after winning promotion in 2018 (pic: Crouch End/Pratik Patel).

Crouch End players celebrate after winning promotion in 2018 (pic: Crouch End/Pratik Patel). - Credit: Archant

The Calthorpe club will eye more success in 2019 with Jalpesh Vijay back for another season

Crouch End are preparing for life in the Middlesex County Division Two, but are not there to make up the numbers.

Hiren Desai's team have had a fantastic two years, coming up to Division Three and then finishing second to Brentham in the last campaign to make it consecutive promotions.

It has been a remarkable period in the Calthorpe club's history, but ambitions remain high this is just the beginning.

Now in the league below the Premier Division, they are so close to the top flight, but they will have to earn their crust in the second tier first.

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A good way to do this is by beating Division Two rivals and they did in April against Hornsey in the ECB National Club Championship.

Crouch End were drawn against the club who almost won promotion to the Premier Division last season and they produced an excellent display.

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After losing the toss, Desai impressed in the field and claimed 4-23 from 5.3 overs at Tivoli Road.

He was well supported by Ryan Cunningham (1-30), Pratik Patel (1-12) and Dhaval Narotam, who finished with 2-20 after opening the attack.

It ensured Hornsey were dismissed for 178 and Crouch End timed the chase perfectly to win by five wickets.

Perhaps most impressively, the visitors won without any major contribution from last season's star Jalpesh Vijay.

Vijay amassed a simply sensational 1,368 runs in 2018, smashed six hundreds and eight fifties with a top score of 149 not out.

Not only was it a terrific total, but it broke a record for most runs scored during a Middlesex County campaign.

If Crouch End are to enjoy more success, the opening batsman will be behind it, but they are not merely a one-man team.

The experienced bowler Cunningham showed all his worth last year and will be called upon again by Desai.

Vice-captain Pratik Patel also impressed with bat and ball and more of the same will be expected from him.

Last season Crouch End were able to get the better of Premier Division side Ealing in the Club Championship and if they continue to develop, it won't be long before they are playing them regularly.

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