North London need to take momentum into crucial promotion clashes
- Credit: Max Flego
Captain Sam Bardon has urged North London to maintain the impetus of their seven-match unbeaten run as they prepare to face the top two sides in Middlesex County League Division Three.
NL squeezed past another promotion contender, Brentham, by just five runs in a low-scoring encounter on Saturday and are now only eight points behind their next opponents – front-runners Winchmore Hill.
With a game against second-placed Middlesex Tamils the following week, Bardon feels his side – who narrowly escaped relegation last season – are very much in the promotion mix this time around.
“It’s always good to come out on the right side in these tight games,” said the NL skipper. “Nobody really expected it to be like that – the wicket didn’t play quite as well as we thought.
“But we’ve defended totals lower than that in the past and we bowled and fielded really well. This was always going to be a big three weeks for us and it’s all about trying to keep it going.
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“A lot of teams have been up and down but we had a slow start and now we’re going in the right direction. We’re right in there and we’ve got as much of a chance as anybody else as long as we continue to build momentum.”
NL lost the toss and struggled after being put in, with Milo Jennings (4) and Simon Mintoft (1) both departing cheaply, although Hussain Shabbir batted well for 27.
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However, the middle order collapsed as Brentham’s Matt Lowen took 5-43 and, despite resistance from Ralph Pedersen (9) and Ted Greally (6), the home side were 71-9 when last man Matt Rosson joined Bardon at the crease.
The pair put on an invaluable 45, with Rosson lasting 36 balls for his four not out, and the captain advanced to 59 before he was bowled by Yogesh Prabhu (3-30).
The modest target of 117 proved to be beyond Brentham, with Rosson (1-26) and Tom Wakeford (1-18) applying early pressure before the North London spin duo of Greally and Jordan Gregory took over.
Gregory finished with figures of 4-36, while Greally (3-21) picked up the vital wicket of Brentham captain Tom Brandreth (52) and then mopped up the tail to seal his side’s victory by just five runs.
“Matt Rosson’s far too good to bat at no 11 and there are very few teams in the league where he would be batting 11,” added Bardon. “To keep them out for that extra 10 overs or so was very important.
“It gave us a little bit of momentum and something to bowl at. I was surprised Brentham got as close as they did in the end.”
North London’s women tied with an experienced Finchley side in an entertaining Middlesex Women’s Championship clash.
Finchley reached 121-5 from their allotted 20 overs, with Miranda Cook taking three wickets and smart fielding producing two run-outs.
Emma Williets (27) and Sophie Mulcahey made a steady start in reply, and Maia Harris (36 not out) then built an impressive innings.
But a flurry of dismissals left NL needing four off the last over with one wicket left, and a mix-up and a direct hit resulted in a run-out with the scores level.