Victorious Hornsey gear up for clash with league leaders Finchley

Paul Weekes hit an unbeaten half-century as Hornsey beat Barnes by seven wickets

Paul Weekes hit an unbeaten half-century as Hornsey beat Barnes by seven wickets - Credit: Max Flego

Skipper Paul Weekes led from the front again as Hornsey triumphed against Barnes to set up a top-of-the-table clash with Finchley this weekend.

Weekes took 4-25 to help dismiss Barnes for just 118 at Tivoli Road and then starred with an unbeaten half-century to seal his side’s seven-wicket victory.

That enabled Hornsey to open up a 19-point gap over third-placed Indian Gymkhana – and they could further strengthen their position on Saturday, when they travel to Middlesex County League Division Two leaders Finchley.

Hornsey batsman Chetan Patel said: “We were flying high and sometimes it can be good to get a little shake-up, which we had in the previous game at Acton, to keep everyone on their toes.

“We’ve picked up from where we were and now Finchley is going to be a bit of a cup final halfway through the season. This could be one we look back at in September and think ‘this is where it turned’.

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“This will be our toughest challenge to date. Finchley’s a nice wicket to play on and we’ve had some good battles with them when we were both in the Premier League.

“We’ve been playing positive cricket all year, that’s not going to change – but at the same time, it’s crucial that is we’re in a situation where we can’t win, we don’t let them win.”

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Overnight rain in Crouch End meant the Barnes match was delayed until 2.15pm and reduced to a 78-over contest, which meant Weekes had no hesitation in asking the visitors to bat after winning the toss.

Sean Solia took the new ball after recovering from a back injury and he and Jack Goldberg (2-52) produced a tight opening spell to pile pressure on the Barnes batsmen.

Weekes then brought himself on and maintained Hornsey’s superiority, backed up by some sharp fielding that included an excellent catch at mid-wicket from Steve Atkinson.

Solia (3-17) returned to clean up the tail in the 39th over, which left the home side chasing around three an over – and Weekes and Will Prest made short work of the Barnes attack.

Although Prest was run out for 31, the skipper remained at the crease for an undefeated 62, with Atkinson (10no) helping him to see Hornsey over the line at 120-3 with eight overs to spare.

“The toss was crucial,” Patel added. “In a short game, we knew our best chance of getting 10 wickets was bowling first and, if there’s more rain later on, you’d always rather be batting.

“We had a really good performance with the ball, with discipline and control, and treated the run chase like we did the limited-overs games. In the end it was comfortable.”

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