North Middlesex will not fear champions Richmond, claims Hughes

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

Joe Cracknell and Luke Hollman again stepped up for North Middlesex last weekend to earn them a victory against Stanmore

Joel Hughes believes North Middlesex have nothing to fear ahead of Saturday's clash at Richmond in the Middlesex County Premier Division.

The Park Road club are above the 2018 champions after five games, on 42 points, with four wins to their name so far.

With Joe Cracknell scoring back-to-back hundreds this month and the wickets being shared around, everything looks to be positive at North Middlesex prior to the game.

Captain Hughes said: "They are a good side and we have had some good games. I feel like in my five years at the club it has been pretty even between us and Richmond.

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"Man for man we have nothing to fear. They have some good players and we will have to work hard, but there is no reason why we can't go there and win."

The format in the Premier Division will switch to all-day cricket now after five matches of 50-over games.

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During that time, Cracknell has scored two tons and Luke Hollman smashed 135 against Finchley while every bowler in the North Middlesex side has enjoyed success.

Hollman leads the way, but Alex MacQueen, Ed Bird and the captain are not too far behind in the wickets tally.

North Middlesex won by 88 runs on Saturday at home to new boys Stanmore with 130 off 124 balls by Cracknell at the top a big factor in the win.

Yet in the field, Hollman (3-25), MacQueen (2-11), Max Harris (1-34), Bird (2-27) and Hughes (1-15) all chipped in.

"I thought Stanmore were a pretty good side, they have some very good players and with Eskinazi involved as well, we were very pleased with the result," Hughes said.

"The big difference this year is we have consistently had the same top four and the same three or four bowlers and it's even better to have 'Birdy' back.

"He has got early wickets pretty much every game, so it's nice to share them around and I think we have between seven to 10 wickets after five games so we're very pleased."

Hughes added: "This result gives everyone a bit more confidence and I always tell the boys how important it is to have matchwinners and to have three big hundreds in five games is pretty impressive.

"I now hope our middle order can maybe start to chip a bit more in the timed games because it can't just be Joe and Luke every week."

Middlesex second-teamer Cracknell had only scored two centuries for the Park Road club before this year, but has equalised that tally already in 2019

The talented youngster has scored plenty of fifties in the Premier Division, but this season looks to have stepped his game up a level.

"Joe has threatened to do this for a couple of years and we always knew he could do it," Hughes said.

"Once he gets in, we know he can be extremely dangerous and what has been particularly impressive is on the two wickets we have played on, almost everyone else has struggled and so for him to get two big hundreds is amazing really."

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