Hornsey drop to second place after narrow defeat at Acton
- Credit: Max Flego
Hornsey were knocked off the top of Division Two after they suffered their first defeat of the season in a tense climax at Acton.
The Crouch End club, who had won their first five fixtures, posted 229-8 declared and looked on course to complete a sixth victory after spin duo Paul Weekes and Johnny Fawcett scythed through Acton’s middle order.
But ninth-wicket pair Steve Rae and Alexander Fell defied the visiting bowlers and edged their struggling side across the finish line with an unbroken partnership of 23.
Acton won the toss and put the visitors in, but Will Prest – drafted into the Hornsey side to replace the unavailable Jamie Harris – made good progress alongside skipper Weekes.
Although Weekes was dismissed by Andrew Niblett for 39, Prest (60) and Joe Emmanuel added 73 for the second wicket to take their side to a strong position at 136-1.
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However, John Reeve (5-84) began to turn the tide in Acton’s favour, removing Emmanuel for 44 and, although Prest went on to pass his half-century, he became Reeve’s second victim soon afterwards.
Jack Goldberg blazed 20 from 13 deliveries before being bowled by Reeve and, with Steve Atkinson (6) being run out, Hornsey were suddenly looking unsure at 196-5.
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Reeve went on to complete his five-for with the scalps of Garfield Struthers (7) and Fawcett (2) before the run-out of Shenal Siriwardhane (43) prompted the declaration in the 50th over.
Acton made a brisk start in pursuit of their target, with Andrew Curtis racking up 29 from 25 balls before Fawcett struck twice in successive deliveries.
The Hornsey spinner (3-41) bowled Curtis and then gained a leg before decision to send Lucas Carlisle on his way – yet a partnership of 77 between Yasir Mehmood (58) and Sahil Kher (37) put Acton back on track.
Jaskeerat Gulshan (1-49) got rid of Mehmood and Kher fell to Weekes (3-98), but the big-hitting Niblett steered his side to 185-4 with a knock of 50 that included three sixes.
Weekes took two return catches to dismiss Matthew Reeve (6) and Tom Forsdike (2) and, with Fawcett trapping Niblett leg before and Struthers running out Alex Brennan (3), Acton seemed to be sinking at 207-8.
But it was not to be and Hornsey’s bowlers could not find a way past Rae (20 not out) and Fell (14no), who secured their side’s two-wicket victory at the close of the 46th over.
Hornsey were displaced at the summit by Finchley, who defeated Highgate by 99 runs to take maximum points.
Highgate won the toss and put the home side in, but they were unable to get rid of opener Philip Hughes, who hit an undefeated 116 from 148 deliveries.
Hughes gained strong support from Sumeet Sharma (72) as Finchley posted 250-7 declared.
That proved to be out of Highgate’s reach as they were bowled out for just 151 from 46.5 overs in reply.