Captain calls on North Middlesex to remain focused after statement win
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
The Park Road club will entertain fourth-placed Shepherds Bush on Saturday
North Middlesex host Shepherds Bush on Saturday knowing they are firmly in the Middlesex County Premier Division title race after last weekend's win.
Joel Hughes' team thrashed 2018 champions Richmond by 200 runs to send a statement to the likes of leaders Ealing and others in the upper echelons of the table.
But the Park Road club are well aware Saturday's victory will not count for much unless they can back it up in the second of nine all-day games in a row.
"We have always tended to be a win or two away from being top and there is less pressure on you when it is like that because you are relying on other results to go your way, but now the idea of winning the league is a realistic possibility," Hughes said.
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"The boys know that and in the longer format of the game you can dominate from start to finish and still come away with four or five points, which happened to Ealing on Saturday.
"I think the next eight games will decide a lot and for us it is so important we keep finding ways of bowling teams out and getting wins on the board."
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North Middlesex trail the early pace-setters Ealing by one point after six matches and made plenty of ground on them last weekend.
Hughes' men made the trip to Old Deer Park to take on the title holders and produced a stunning display with bat and ball.
Richmond put North Middlesex into bat first and opener Luke Hollman stepped up to score an unbeaten 158 off 184 balls to help the away side declare on 276-3 after 60 overs.
In the field, the visitors were in equally top form and Middlesex ace Ethan Bamber dropped in on his club side and made a big impact.
He bowled 16 consecutive overs, with tea the only interruption, and claimed 5-40 while Hughes (1-9) and Hollman (3-14) also produced fine efforts with the ball.
It saw Richmond dismissed for 76 while the leaders could only get Shepherds Bush eight down and so they had to settle for a draw.
North Middlesex will now hope to move above top of the table Ealing, who are at home to Teddington, on Saturday
"Shepherds Bush are fourth in the league and playing well and they have had some good results, so there really are no easy games in this division," Hughes added.
"We know you can dominate 120 overs in this format and still not win, so it's about doing what we have been doing, playing our game and just never giving up and making sure we keep going."