North Middlesex suffer first defeat in top-of-the-table clash against Ealing

Evan Flowers hit 67 but North Middlesex were defeated by Ealing. Pic: Max Flego

Evan Flowers hit 67 but North Middlesex were defeated by Ealing. Pic: Max Flego - Credit: Max Flego

North Middlesex suffered their first defeat of the season in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League after losing their top-of-the-table clash with Ealing.

Both sides went into the match with a perfect record of three wins from three, but it was the home side who came out on top by three wickets.

Evan Flowers (67) was North Midd’s top scorer as they posted a competitive total of 259 from their allotted 50 overs. But Ollie Wilkin struck 54 off just 29 balls while Leigh Parry aided a strong tail-end batting display, notching an unbeaten 48 as Ealing reached 263-7 with just under two overs to spare.

Stand-in captain Joel Hughes lost the toss but, having been asked to bat, North Midd opened with composure and 15-year-old Joe Cracknell – who was making his Premier League debut – hit three consecutive boundaries before falling for 18 while attempting a pull shot a few overs later.

Atif Zafar (35) and Will Vanderspar (34) took the visitors to 85-1 before falling in quick succession, and Evan Flowers and the returning Connor Nurse then took North Midd to 150-3.

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When Nurse was bowled by Ahsan Faraz (4-41) and Sam Webber was immediately run out without facing a delivery, the initiative seemed to have swung Ealing’s way. However, Adam Holmes (35) and Flowers (67) added 81 together, while Joel Hughes added 11 further down the order as North Midd reach a competitive total of 259 from their 50 overs.

Ealing’s innings got off to a bad start when Hughes (2-48) had Milo Wilkin caught in the slips for a duck, but his brother and opening partner Ollie Wilkin quickly took the game away with an aggressive and fast-paced 54.

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The match remained on a knife-edge as wickets fell at regular intervals, Jaron Semper (2-39) and Nurse (2-46) contributing with the ball, while Ealing stayed up with the required rate and took the game towards a close finish.

A heated exchange between Hughes and Ealing’s Chris Wakefield ended with the North Midd skipper bowling the Ealing batsman for 42, leaving the hosts 166-5.

However, some big hits from tail enders Ahmad Elech (34), Parry (48 not out) and Huw Jones (31) meant the hosts accelerated and reached the finish line with three wickets in hand and 11 balls remaining.

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