North Middlesex left with mixed emotions after cup final defeat

North Middlesex's Evan Flowers looks to try and beat the field (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

North Middlesex's Evan Flowers looks to try and beat the field (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Middlesex League Cup final: Richmond (261-6) beat North Middlesex (257-7) by four wickets

North Middlesex captain Joel Hughes couldn’t help but reflect on what might have been after watching his team lose narrow to Richmond in the final of the Middlesex League Cup.

The Park Road outfit won the toss, batted first and scored 257-7 from their 45 overs at Ealing’s Corfton Road.

It set the Middlesex County League Premier Division champions 258 for victory and they managed it by four wickets with only two balls left.

Hughes said: “It was pretty disappointing. It was up and down all day, but I felt we were on top going into the last three overs and then a big over got them back in it.

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“I was pleased with how we played and I said to the guys losing is easier when you know you have played well. We just couldn’t close it out.”

After calling correctly at the toss, Hughes saw talented young opener Luke Hollman out for a golden duck.

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Connor Nurse (47) and Evan Flowers led the recovery, however, and put on 119 for the second wicket.

When the former fell three short of a half century, it was left to James Parslow (43) and Flowers, but the latter was dismissed caught and bowled for a fine 84.

Some late blows by Joe Cracknell (31) and Tom Nicoll (27) helped North Middlesex go past 250 and set a competitive total for victory.

“I was really pleased for Evan and he really batted superbly,” skipper Hughes said, when discussing the batting effort.

“After losing Luke for a golden duck, we could have gone into our shell, but we played positively and took the game to them which was led by Evan.”

In reply, Richmond made a strong start, but Nick Brand (2-45) and Connor Nurse (2-47) helped check their progress.

At 202-5, North Middlesex looked on course for a memorable victory, but saw the opposition skipper step up to the plate.

Greg King, Richmond’s captain, scored 29 off 23 balls – his third-highest score of the year – to see his team over the line in the final over.

Hughes added: “They were always there or there abouts when it came to the run-rate, but we kept picking up wickets and big ones too.

“In the end, it took something special from Greg for them to get close and then obviously over the line.

“To be honest I was pleased for him because he has not had the best of times this year and it can be tough as a captain, so after all of it I was happy for him.”

While North Middlesex couldn’t end the season with silverware, they can look back on the 2018 campaign as another impressive term.

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