Highgate beat Hornsey in final game to escape relegation
- Credit: Max Flego
Departing skipper Jake Sharland wants to see Highgate become an established second-tier club in the Middlesex County League following their final-day escape from relegation.
Highgate secured survival in Division Two for the first time in the club’s history with a comprehensive – albeit rain-affected – victory at home to neighbours Hornsey.
The duo will be joined next season by North London, who were promoted as Division Three runners-up, and Sharland – who is standing down after four years as captain – feels Highgate can continue to progress.
He said: “Everyone’s rallied round and the team ethic is really strong. We knew we had enough talent in the team – it was about whether we could be a strong unit, and we have been.
“With us staying at this level, our second XI winning their title and the third team getting back-to-back promotions, it was a great day. Now I’d like to think we can become one of the best clubs in the league.
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“When I joined we only had one team in the Middlesex County League, so we’ve come a hell of a long way. We’re nowhere near ready for the Premier Division yet, but we’d like to see ourselves thriving at this level.
“At the start of the season, we struggled with limited-overs cricket, which was a new format, but in the last four games we’ve shown we can do well, especially under pressure.
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“I feel it’s time for me to hand the reins to someone else, but I’m happy with the way the last few years have gone – we finished third, champions and then stayed up this time.”
Hornsey won the toss at Shepherd’s Cot and chose to bat, but they were soon in trouble as Sandun Dias bowled openers Chetan Patel (2) and Garfield Struthers (12).
Craig Gourlay (4-21) weighed in by removing Daniel Harris (12) and then Sean Solia for a first-ball duck to leave Hornsey floundering at 43-4.
Skipper Paul Weekes brought some stability to the visitors’ innings with a patient knock of 48, ably supported by Jack Bruce (26) and then Jack Goldberg (37).
However, Robin Glassberg’s spell of nine overs for just 15 kept the run-rate down and Dias returned to remove Goldberg and Tom Waine (2) before Ed Foster (1-31) and Gourlay wrapped up the innings for 162 in the 43rd over.
Highgate suffered a blow at the start of their reply when Sharland was bowled by Waine for just a single, but Chris Arul and Will Bowley kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The pair added 60 and, although Hornsey’s Jaskeerat Gulshan claimed a second success by removing Bowley (23), courtesy of a stumping from Goldberg, it could not halt the home side’s momentum.
Arul went on to reach 57 not out, while Dias hammered an unbeaten 48 from just 32 balls to keep Highgate well ahead on run-rate. The pair had reached 146-2 in the 23rd over when rain brought the game to a finish – and confirmed their survival at Acton’s expense.
“The weather was a bit touch and go – we knew that the rain was always going to come at some point, so that was in the back of our minds,” added Sharland.
“When it got to about 17 or 18 overs of our innings and the rain did come I was very nervous – especially as Sandun hit two sixes and we had to go and find the ball!
“I have to praise Sandun’s performance – he’s been a great asset for us all season. Chris Arul’s innings was flawless and Robin Glassberg’s spell with the ball was very important, he’s canny and difficult to get away.
“Obviously we would have liked the champagne moment where we could run on the pitch and celebrate like we did so many times last season.
“It turned out to be a bit of a damp squib when the umpires walked into our changing-room and announced the match was over, but we celebrated as if we’d won something special all the same.”