North Middlesex and Hughes relishing opening-day clash with Ealing

Evan Flowers in batting action for North Middlesex at Park Road (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Evan Flowers in batting action for North Middlesex at Park Road (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

The two Middlesex County Premier Division title rivals will aim to land an early blow on Saturday

North Middlesex captain Joel Hughes is looking forward to Saturday's Middlesex County Premier Division opener at fellow title rivals Ealing.

The two clubs finished second and third in the table last year and both will aim to challenge champions Richmond in 2019.

Although Ealing were above North Middlesex last season, Hughes is excited about the prospect of facing them early on in the term again.

"I think it is actually quite a good start for us. We had them away last year on the first day and we beat them," he said.

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"We have heard through the grapevine they are not that strong on the opening day, so maybe it is not a bad time to get them."

North Middlesex go into the game full of confidence after two wins on Monday in the regional T20 competition.

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Hughes' team managed to see off Division Two outfit Hornsey first and then North London, of Division Three, in the next game.

Evan Flowers impressed with the bat while the wickets were shared on the day and it gives North Middlesex a shot at success in the Middlesex T20 Cup again.

Last year they reached the final, but lost to Osterley and a target this season will be to go one better.

The league campaign is the initial focus now though, and Hughes is optimistic about their chances after a string of top-three finishes.

Ealing are one of the best teams in the division, but the 2017 champions were beaten by North Middlesex on the opening day last season.

The Park Road club chased down 193 to win by three wickets and they will eye a repeat on Saturday.

While Ealing gained some type of revenge by winning at North Middlesex in July, the teams appear evenly-matched.

It means the result at the weekend will come down to who performs better on the day, but Hughes is happy with the squad at his disposal.

He added: "Looking at our availability, it is pretty decent for the first month, but I do say to the lads in this division there are no easy games.

"There are no particular strong or weak sides, it is normally just about good or bad performances on the day and that is the nature of this level of cricket."

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