Hughes expecting Bush and Holden to provide big test of title credentials

Middlesex's Max Holden catches the ball (pic: Bradley Collyer/PA Images).

Middlesex's Max Holden catches the ball (pic: Bradley Collyer/PA Images). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Park Road club lead the Premier Division outright after an eventful last weekend

North Middlesex are back on top of the Middlesex County Premier Division and captain Joel Hughes says they are ready for another massive test this weekend.

The Park Road club make the trip to Shepherds Bush, who stunned then-leaders Ealing on Saturday which allowed a change of guard at the summit.

Not only will North Middlesex face a tough clash at Bromyard Avenue, but the hosts should be able to call upon Middlesex staffer Max Holden, who hit 98 for them earlier this month.

Hughes said: "Shepherds Bush are a funny side, we seem to have had the better of them over the last couple of years, but they always manage to win some big games during the season.

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"I have also heard Max Holden is available for them on Saturday, so there is no chance we will be underestimating them.

"We have to work really hard over the next three weeks in every game to make sure we stay in this position."

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Prior to last weekend Ealing were leading the division despite both clubs having 95 points. This was due to them having a single more win than Hughes' men, but that has now changed.

North Middlesex's victory over Richmond moved them onto eight victories in the Premier Division this season and sent them eight clear at the summit too.

Will Vanderspar, fresh from a match-winning contribution against Stanmore, struck 83 not out off 112 balls.

It enabled North Middlesex to reach 270-7 from 50 overs with Joe Cracknell (41) and Evan Flowers (44) both hitting scores and Tom Nicoll adding 32 down the order.

"Vanders has made important contributions in three of the last four games and played really well on Saturday," Hughes said.

"We also have him available for the last three matches which is great news."

After a fine team effort with the bat, it was a similar story in the field with captain Hughes leading from the front initially.

He claimed 2-19 before former skipper Nicoll produced a superb spell and saw off William Phillips for 57 on his way to 3-38.

Luke Hollman wrapped things up with 2-38 as Richmond were all out for 197 to see North Middlesex take a big step towards the title.

Hughes concluded: "I wanted to give Tom some overs on Saturday because I know I have underused him in recent weeks and he bowled very nicely and got the big wicket of Phillips."

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