Middlesex League Premier Division: North Middlesex skipper Tom Nicoll is looking to push on

North Middlesex's Charlie MacLeod (pic: Robert Brand).

North Middlesex's Charlie MacLeod (pic: Robert Brand). - Credit: Archant

Pivotal month coming up for Park Road club, but confidence is high, especially with wicket-keeper Charlie MacLeod in great form

North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll feels his team are ready to deliver ahead of a pivotal month of the Middlesex League Premier Division season.

The Park Road club visit Richmond this weekend before facing second-placed Ealing on June 10 and Hampstead the following Saturday (June 17).

Just 11 points separates the four clubs, but North Middlesex are positive after a strong start to 2017.

“Our next three games are big. We play Richmond, Ealing and Hampstead, so they are defining matches,” said Nicoll.

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“We have won three out of four in the Premier this season, so we are confident and I don’t see why we can’t kick on even more.”

North Middlesex are third in the table, two positions ahead of Richmond and nine points better off.

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And while Nicoll’s team are buoyant after an excellent Bank Holiday weekend, their league rivals are not.

Richdmond tasted defeat at Teddington on Saturday before losing in the quarter-finals of the T20 cup two days later.

North Middlesex, on the other hand, beat Shepherds Bush comprehensively at the weekend before qualifying for T20 finals day on Monday.

Nicoll added: “Richmond are usually a good team, but I know they have lost their last two, so maybe it is an ideal time to play them.

“I don’t know too much about them this year, but we like to focus on ourselves anyway and we are feeling confident.”

The North Middlesex skipper paid tribute to wicket-keeper Charlie MacLeod after their league victory on Saturday.

MacLeod scored an important 31 not out, but also took three catches to help dismiss Shepherds Bush for 198.

“Our number seven Charlie has been a cracking find for us this season. He scored 31 on Saturday and took three amazing catches standing up,” said Nicoll.

“It is not easy for batsmen when the wicket-keeper stands up, it stops them from coming down the crease, so we are delighted to have him.”

Joe Cracknell’s 86 at the top of the order helped North Middlesex post 290-5 with fellow opener Will Vanderspar hitting 53.

Liam O’Driscoll added an unbeaten 30 alongside MacLeod and then took 4-33 with the ball, as Bush fell 92 runs short of their target.

Nicoll added: “Liam is a fantastic player, but a doctor, so we don’t always have him available, but he did really well.

“He is a very cunning bowler and having a good wicket-keeper like Charlie standing up helps him and the others too.”

North Middlesex defeated Enfield and Southgate on Monday afternoon to qualify for their fourth consecutive T20 finals day.

Nicoll’s team will continue their pursuit of a historic treble this weekend when they visit Richmond on Saturday before travelling to Essex outfit Wanstead in the National Cup on Sunday.

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