North Middlesex leapfrog Crouch End at top ahead of showdown
North Middlesex took over at the top of the Middlesex League Premier Division from Crouch End with victory at Finchley last weekend.
And they could take a decisive step on Saturday as the top two go head-to-head at North Midd.
Finchley won the toss and chose to bat at Arden Field, but were reduced to 52-4 as Joel Hughes (2-50), Hugh Teesdale and first change Gareth James all had success.
Aaran Amin (91) and George Taylor-Yeates (44) put on 131 for the fifth wicket, before both fell in quick succession to Uzair Amjaid (2-57).
And Jeremy Warner (2-64) got in on the act, before James (2-27) struck again late on as Finchley closed their 63 overs on 244-9.
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North Midd lost Tom Heathfield without scoring and Matthew Cracknell for an unlucky 13 not long after to find themselves 19-2.
And Evan Flowers and Fergal Walter both fell soon after reaching double figures to leave them 60-4 and facing a tough task.
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Hassan Khan (24) put on 75 with Tej Sheopuri, who hit 14 fours in his 86 before departing with the total on 178.
James then took centre stage as he dominated an unbroken 67-run stand with captain Hughes, hitting 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 77 from 69 balls, as North Midd reached their target in the 50th over with four wickets in hand.
And the 10 points gained in victory allowed North Midd to leapfrog previous leaders Crouch End, who lost at home to Hampstead, at the summit to lead by three with seven games remaining.
Hampstead won the toss at the Calthorpe Ground and saw openers Beckham Wheeler-Greenall (50 off 56) and Mubasher Hassan (61 off 63) put on 114.
Five wickets then fell for nine runs, to Aparajit Khurana and Natim Hassam (3-63), before Ben Frazer (31) and Scott Barlow (29) dug in to share 53.
Both succumbed to Khurana, who ran through the lower order to finish with 7-83 in 27.3 overs as Hampstead were dismissed for 202.
But Crouch End were soon in trouble at 22-3, before Chetan Depala helped Sandun Dias add 49.
Dias fell five runs short of a half-century and, although Pratik Patel (24) and Khurana (29) made starts, the home side were always up against it and fell away to 151 all out and a 51-run loss as Barlow (4-19) and Ben Lockrose (4-58) shared the bowling honours for Hampstead.
*Crouch End are proud to be hosting Middlesex Women for their match against Sussex, starting on Thursday.
The 50-over match begins at 11am and a barbeque will be starting at 6pm.