Captain Hughes sets North Middlesex target for final two league fixtures
- Credit: Archant
Although second-placed Ealing look out of sight, North Middlesex have another goal in mind
North Middlesex captain Joel Hughes has challenged his team to record their best points total in the Middlesex County League Premier Division.
After 16 top flight games, the Park Road club sit in third place with 105 points to their name – trailing second in the table Ealing by 14.
The best tally North Middlesex have posted since they come up was 117 in 2016 when they were runners-up to Teddington and ahead of the last two games of the season, Hughes wants his team to claim another 13 points.
He said: “We haven’t got much to play for now, but we would like to try and beat our league best points total and enjoy our last two games this season.”
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North Middlesex will entertain Teddington on Saturday looking to win again after holding their nerve to beat Shepherds Bush last time out.
In a low-scoring affair at Park Road, it was the hosts who ran out victors after dismissing the away side for 104 in reply to 149 all out.
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Hughes won the toss and made the decision to bat first, but only Luke Hollman could get any joy with the bat.
The all-rounder, who plays for England’s under-19s, crunched 60 off 79 balls, but the next highest score was 17 by Evan Flowers.
Yet a target of 150 proved too many runs for Bush as Hughes (1-25), Hugh Teesdale (1-20), Alfie Duke (1-20) and Will Vanderspar (1-22) reduced them to 52-4.
Hollman then had the visitors in a spin and finished with 5-16 to dismiss the away side cheapily and earn his team the points.
“Shepherds Bush’s overseas (Dexter Marsh) bowled really well and was a handful, especially with the new ball,” Hughes said.
“And crucially we didn’t bat well enough against all of their spinners and 149 felt 30 to 40 runs under par.
“It was still doing plenty in the second innings though, and all of our seamers looked threatening and then we unleashed Luke against the middle order and tail and he was too much for them.
“They couldn’t pick him and he picked up his fourth five-fer this year. He’s been very impressive and you forget he’s only 17 too!”
After Saturday’s win, North Middlesex had more to celebrate a day later when their youngster Ethan Bamber was called up to make his Middlesex debut.
The 19-year-old bowler took his maiden first-class wicket away to Northamptonshire on Sunday and inspired them to a dramatic final-day victory.