North Middlesex focused and ready for battle against Richmond

Max Harris of North Middlesex helped his team defeat Richmond in the T20 Cup earlier this year (pic:

Max Harris of North Middlesex helped his team defeat Richmond in the T20 Cup earlier this year (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Joel Hughes will hope his team can enjoy more success over the 2018 Premier Division winners

North Middlesex are still in the title race with four games left in this season's Middlesex League Premier Division, but captain Joel Hughes expects a difficult encounter against Richmond.

A win at Stanmore last weekend sent them back to joint top of the standings with Ealing and all eyes are on Saturday's fixture with the 2018 champions at Park Road.

Richmond cannot defend their title, but Hughes knows they will not go down without a fight and warned his players to be on form.

He said: "They are a great side and have some of the best players in the league so you can never underestimate them.

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"If we play to our best it doesn't matter who we play, we probably will be the favourites and we just need to play well on Saturday and see what happens."

The format switches back from all-day cricket to 50-over games now, with coloured kits and a pink ball used in the Premier Division.

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North Middlesex won four of their five matches in the format at the beginning of the campaign, so are hoping for similar results now.

"I think the 50-over format benefits us because we have six or seven frontline bowlers we can turn to," Hughes added.

"I know I have bowled a lot of overs in recent weeks, but I feel I can rely on the other guys to do the job.

"Batting-wise, it doesn't swing much, the pink ball, and hopefully we can do as well as we did in our first five games in this format."

North Middlesex also enter this period following a much-needed win after a lengthy amount of time without a Premier Division victory, stretching back to June 22.

Will Vanderspar top scored for Hughes' men on Saturday away to Stanmore with 47 in a total of 200 that proved enough to earn a win by 99 runs.

It means recent defeats can now be put to bed with Hughes and his players totally focused on what is happening over the next month.

Hughes said: "I was thinking about whether we could have done better against Hampstead and in the Twickenham game, but that's gone and it wouldn't be good for mindset to think about what if.

"In a way it's nice to be level on points with Ealing too because we only need to concentrate on just winning the games and the rest takes care of itself.

"Had we been ahead we may have been able to lose a game and that can be a dangerous mentality sometimes, so we are enjoying it and looking to win our final four games."

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