North London beat Kenton to stay in the promotion frame
- Credit: Max Flego
North London skipper Sam Bardon is optimistic that victories in the two remaining games will give his side a good chance of promotion from Middlesex County League Division Three.
NL are lying fourth in a crowded table, eight points behind second-placed Brentham, but they could yet clamber into a promotion place if they finish the season with wins against Uxbridge and Harrow Town.
With other promotion rivals yet to play each other, Bardon believes his team – who narrowly escaped relegation last season – can be the ones to emerge triumphant.
“Four weeks ago, we set ourselves a target of winning four of our last six games, which we felt would probably be enough to see us up,” said Bardon.
“Unfortunately we then lost twice, which means we’ve been in a position of needing to win every time to stay in the hunt. But it’s quite nice that every game we play has something riding on it.
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“We need other results to fall our way but the fixtures are such that it wouldn’t take too much for us to be in the second promotion spot – and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we could even catch Osterley, the leaders.
“Both of our next opponents have beaten teams near the top recently – as is usually the case in Division Three – so they’ll certainly be up for it.
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“But we’re very much in the mix and I’d like to think that we’ve given ourselves a good chance. If we play the way we have been doing then it’s a chance we should be able to take.”
Bardon won the toss on Saturday at home to basement boys Kenton and put them in, with spinners Jordan Gregory, Ted Greally and James Fell ensuring that the visitors were restricted to 194 from 43.5 overs.
Kenton struggled to build partnerships throughout as Gregory returned the impressive figures of 3-7, while Greally took 3-33 and Fell was unfortunate not to gain the rewards his bowling deserved.
North London’s response was anchored by Hussain Shabbir, who carried his bat for an unbeaten 85 and ensured that they reached the target with more than five overs to spare.
Shabbir was supported by solid contributions from Milo Jennings (21), Will Lake (21), Bardon (37) and Jack Godfrey-Wood (18 not out) as NL clinched a comfortable win.
“Most of our success has come batting first, so it was quite pleasing to chase a score down this time. It bodes well for the last two games,” added Bardon.
“The chase went according to plan – in the past we’ve tended to lose wickets in clusters, but Huss batted through and everyone else batted around him, which took the pressure off.”