North Midd keep up title challenge

Thursday, 28th July — By Steve Barnett

Cricket

ALEX MacQueen put in a bowling masterclass on Saturday to help North Middlesex return to the top of the Premier Division table.

Having won the toss, James Parslow’s side opted to bat first in their home match against Stanmore in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Openers MacQueen and David Heavyside made a bright enough start as they took North Midd to 63 before the loss of their first wicket – MacQueen departing on 24 runs after being bowled by Varman Ratnakumaran.

Heavyside went on to top-score with 70 off 115 balls before being caught by Ratnakumaran off Nayan Doshi’s bowling.

But with Fergal Walter offering the only other substantial knock – hitting 30 off 54 balls – North Midd looked up against it as they were bowled out in the 60th over for just 199.

The title challengers were going to need a solid start in the field, and it arrived in style as Stanmore quickly found themselves struggling on 17-3.

George Garrett trapped opener Jigar Shah lbw with just five runs to his name, while David O’Sullivan picked up a couple of quick wickets as he recored figures of 2-9 – dismissing Tom Edrich for a single run and Michael Levitt for 10.

MacQueen then stole centre-stage as he tore through Stanmore’s remaining batting order on his way to taking six wickets at the expense of just 60 runs.

It was a closer match than maybe some would have expected, with North Midd eventually dismissing Stanmore for 177 in the 51st over to seal a 22-run victory. With Teddington being held to a draw in their match away to Richmond, the win was enough to see North Midd reclaim top spot in the table ahead of their home tie against Hampstead this Saturday.

Hampstead will go into the fixture off the back of another draw following their high-scoring contest against Crouch End on Saturday at Lymington Road. Joel Curtis put in the batting display of the day in the top flight as he whacked 184 for Crouch End, who eventually declared on 343-5 after 60 overs.

It was always going to be a big ask for the Hampstead players, but they certainly gave it a go with Steve McGiffin posting an unbeaten 105, while Ciaran Johnson also batted well for 60.

In the end, however, time got the better of them as they ended play on 253-3 off 60 overs to record their third draw in five outings. The result leaves Hampstead seventh in the 10-team table.

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