Hughes pleased North Middlesex are enjoying title battle

Luke Hollman of North Middlesex celebrates taking a wicket in the Middlesex County Premier Division

Luke Hollman of North Middlesex celebrates taking a wicket in the Middlesex County Premier Division (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

The joint-leaders of the Middlesex County Premier Division travel to Hampstead at the weekend

Captain Joel Hughes wants North Middlesex to continue enjoying their cricket, but knows they are in for a tough test on Saturday away to Hampstead.

The Park Road club had to settle for another winning-draw last weekend, but it saw them go level on points with Middlesex County Premier Division leaders Ealing.

Both teams have a tally of 83 and with seven matches left this year it is now all about who will hold their nerve and take the title crown off Richmond, who are down in fifth.

Hughes said: "Hampstead have some excellent players and playing them is never easy, especially over at their place.

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"I try to tell the lads all the time how we will never get an easy game in this league, but the focus has to be about us.

"We are playing well and we have to keep it up, but the atmosphere in the camp is brilliant and everyone is enjoying how things are going."

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Luke Hollman produced another wonderful display on Saturday, but North Middlesex had several other key performers away to Finchley.

The home side won the toss and decided to field first, and they were able to dismiss Liam O'Driscoll for 13, but that brought Ollie Tikare to the crease.

Alongside Hollman, the top-order batsmen put on 211 for the second wicket to take the game away from struggling Finchley.

Eventually all-rounder Hollman was out for a wonderful 127 off 151 balls, which included 12 fours and four sixes.

Tikare remained there until the end on 109 not out and it allowed the away side to declare on 293-3, but they couldn't dismiss Finchley.

Hughes worked hard on his way to impressive figures of 3-33 off 17 overs and Hollman caught the eye with 1-19, but the hosts finished up on 180-8 and it meant another winning-draw for North Middlesex.

Nevertheless, the captain is still happy and eager for them to make it 11 Premier Division matches without a defeat when they travel to Lymington Road to take on the sixth-placed hosts this weekend.

"I was saying to the lads after Saturday's match how this is a lovely position to be in. Every run counts, every wicket has a meaning and it's nice for us," Hughes added.

"Normally we are behind the eight ball at this stage of the year and sometimes the intensity does drop off, but it is all to play for and we are producing good cricket so we just need to try and continue to do that."

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