Frustration for the 1s as Finchley hold out for a draw but great to see another ton for Luke and a maiden Premier League century from another ex Colt , the one and only Oli Tik.
Big win for the 2s with fine knocks from Chad Mayo, Zulfy and Henners. Great to see Junaid (U17) show his class in the 3s with 130.
The picture is of the 1s team that won the Middlesex T20 in 2017 – Oli Tik and Luke are both on the second row. Luke is second from the left and Oli second from the right.
Here are the match reports from Week 11 (20.7.19) –
North Midd 1st XI vs Finchley (Away)
North Midd 293-3 from 51 overs
Finchley 180-8 from 57
North Midd winning draw
There had been rain, heavy rain, overnight: areas of the outfield were soggy and the used ends on the square were muddy, but thankfully, the covers had fully protected the pitch, so that the surface was firm and dry as well as being well-grassed. A further heavy shower delayed preparations and so an early lunch was taken, with play finally getting away at 1.00.
Finchley will have been delighted to have won the toss, and they predictably chose to field. This presented a challenge for the visitors, not just because the ball might move off the seam until he pitch really dried out, but also obtaining a sufficient total in good time, to leave plenty of overs to attempt to bowl the hosts out, in a game now restricted to 108 overs (max 59 in first innings).
Fahrenheim, MacQueen and Flowers (attending a pre-natal lecture) were replaced by Will Nicoll, Will Vanderspar and Olly Tikare (unknown to your correspondent, but recently full of runs); Middlesex did not allow Joe Cracknell to play, despite having scored a midweek hundred for their 2nd XI against Ireland ‘A’ (they obviously thought Finchley’s attack would be more likely to worsen his recovering finger than the Irish). Left-arm seamer Hatchett began with a maiden to Liam O’Driscoll, which was followed by an extraordinary over from Brookes, who was quite unable to find his rhythm, and conceding four no-balls and suffering the indignity of three ‘refusals’ (your correspondent has witnessed him bowling very effectively in the past); he did not bowl again. This rather knocked the stuffing out of Finchley’s attempt to make use of the early conditions, where the pitch showed conistent ‘bounce and carry’, and O’Driscoll tucked into three off-driven boundaries before missing a straight ball in the sixth over from Skipper and talisman Hassan Khan - the League Chairman then did his job (33-1, 13). This brought Tikare to the crease and he was quickly away with an elegant 2 and 3, before becoming rather (understandably) becalmed, playing overtly correctly in defence. This did not matter because Luke Hollman was fluent and fully into his stride. I have written enough superlatives about this highly talented left-hander in the past, but suffice to say that he played with all of his usual early circumspection, followed by an array of elegant strokes all around the wicket, demonstrating a technical mastery far in advance of this level. With 4 disdainful sixes and 12 apparently effortless boundaries, he reached his fifty in 67 balls and hundred in 130, and totally dominated anything that the hosts could bowl at him. Eventually he offered a simple return catch to off-spinner Graham (244-2, 127); his innings appeared to have been as easy as ‘taking candy from a baby’. We all wish him well for his Minor County debut this week for Berkshire: a spiteful bear-pit compared to the County 2nd XI cricket he is used to – take your ear-plugs with you.
Gradually, Tikare began to find his confidence and touch; standing tall and well-balanced, he played fluently all around the wicket, with deft touches behind square combined with ferocious power, especially on the on-side. His fifty from 88 balls was enthusiastically cheered by his team-mates, whilst his hundred from 123 balls nearly sparked a pitch invasion; if this was his debut – what a start! – whatever, he has surely won a regular place in the side. James Parslow played with his usual unselfish flair, and had just belted two consecutive fours, when he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary attempting a third (280-3, 16); Tom Nicoll scored 3 from 4 balls when Skipper Hughes finally called an end to the romp: 293-3 from 51 overs. Tikare, although fortunate to have been ‘missed’ three times (the ‘keeping would best be described as ‘erratic’), had accelerated supremely – his last 59 from 40 balls - and finished undefeated on 109 with 3 sixes and 7 fours – yet another highly talented young player - and he took part in a second wicket partnership with Hollman of 211 in 238 balls. Finchley left the field for tea in disarray.
Finchley faced a daunting task, and the ‘Midd’ had 57 overs to bowl them out. The hosts set out their stall from the start – five of the first nine overs from Joel Hughes and Ed Bird were maidens, although both their radar appeared not to be switched on - and we were all set in for a long haul of attrition. It took the early introduction of Tom Nicoll to break the deadlock, when he induced Lowe into giving a simple catch to Bird at silly-mid-off (37-1, 16). Max Harris was introduced to try and bounce the batsmen out, and Majed Ali duly obliged, skying a hook to Hughes at backward square leg after a relatively fluent innings (48-2, 28). Kashif Ali briefly scampered some runs before the returning Hughes had him caught behind by Alex Hill (67-3, 11). Sharma began confidently with two boundaries but then became becalmed and Bird bowled him with a full straight delivery (please note!) (87-4, 12). Meanwhile Thomas Powe, one of Finchley’s talented young players, had dug himself in whilst taking every opportunity to score; he had established a solid start and looked set to last the course when he was run out at the bowler’s end when Bird got a touch on a fierce straight drive from talented young Sri Lankan and Old Harrovian Wijeratne (102-5, 29) – always a dreadfully unlucky way to get out. Dismayed by what he had done, the latter compounded the deed by being immediately well caught low-down at 2nd slip by Parslow from a ‘beaut’ from Hughes (104-6, 2). Brookes defended stoutly, trying to make up for earlier sins, but was castled by another well-pitched-up straight ball from Hughes (please note again!!) (121-7, 6). This represented the ‘nadir’ of the hosts’ fortunes for there were still 15 overs of the match remaining. Skipper Hassan Khan was bullishly defiant, preferring to play out time in an aggressive fashion which did not allow the bowlers to settle; he hit fifty from 43 balls with 2 sixes and 6 fours, and was particularly severe on Harris (8-1-60-1), who had been told to ‘bounce him out’: the ball disappearing over the pavilion twice. Gahagan joined his skipper in watchful defence, consuming a precious 11 overs in the process, before Hollman induced an easy ‘bat-pad’ catch to Will Nicoll at backward short-leg (180-8, 18). Graham joined his skipper with 3 overs to go and both batsmen played them out without any alarm, leaving Skipper Khan undefeated for a brave and characterful 52.
So North Middlesex gained 5 points (having batted first) to Finchley’s 1, and since Ealing hung on 9 wickets down to gain 4 points at Hampstead by a second decimal point, the ‘Midd’ are now level on points with 7 games to go (3 timed, 4 overs). They will look forward to returning to ‘overs’ cricket, having been frustrated 3 weeks of the last 4 batting first and gaining just 8 wickets each time. In truth, no one other than Skipper Hughes (17-7-33-3) consistently threatened and after a while the eventual result seemed pre-ordained, despite Hill’s increasingly urgent ‘calls to arms’; it was just too good a surface to gain wickets without ‘batsman error’. A couple of catches went down: the most expensive when Powe (8) was dropped at deep mid-wicket running forward, but as implied above, the single most important factor was that not enough balls would have hit the wicket, especially in the opening overs: when a batting side is determined to defend, it has to be ‘you miss I hit’ as often as possible. Perhaps also, there could have been an earlier declaration: it was pretty clear that Finchley did not have the batting to get 250 when they were in the field – brave, but, especially in retrospect, compelling – those of us who have played the majority of our cricket as ‘time’ games, know that, when bowling second, you get wickets 5-8 most easily when the opposition is still trying to win the game: take Farrell’s incision into the ‘Midd’ batting last week for instance.
A challenging away game at Hampstead next week awaits, but it is all to play for, and North Middlesex are playing a great deal of impressive cricket. Mark Williams PS: glossary: ‘castled’: bowled (chess); ‘beaut’: Australian for a beauty; ‘bat-pad’: inside edge onto pad.
North Midd 2nd XI vs Finchley (Home)
North Midd 302-5 dec from 45 overs
Finchley 138 all out 35.1 overs
North Midd win by 164 runs
Despite the pitter patter of rain that delicately punctuated much of the morning, the NMCC 2's were happy to have returned to Park Road after consecutive away games at Richmond and Ealing. Both previous games had been hidings, one in our favour and one not. Unfortunately for Finchley the hiding hype would continue this week. With calls of bowl first or forfeit ringing in his ears, Shirls walked back from the toss to let us know we were batting. Chamboss and Weeman started us off well, Chambo wielding the blade with his usual panache, and Shirls staunch in defence, leaving with far more clarity than any politician at the minute. Unfortunately wee would be Finchley's first wicket, copping a rare good ball from the opener. 25-1 They say the mark of true condiment is in its ability to compliment not overpower. With this is mind Chad Mayo is not a true condiment , because upon joining Chambo at the crease, Chad launched an assault on the Finchley bowlers. He dispatched the openers over cover so often that the Finchley captain was forced to open the DPD tracker app. It is very rare for Chamboss to be outscored in a partnership, but the Hellman's was just so dominant. And though Mayo and Chambo did at the crease resemble Yoda and Windu, it is important to mention that Finchley dropped both characters on several occasions- silly Jedis. (9 drops overall). With the confidence that hitting the ball in the air to a fielder would not result in a dismissal, both men marched on to respective 50's and the 100 partnership was brought up in the process. Finchley could not rid themselves of the wrath of mayo, as he continued to play with the arrogance of an ADHD peacock, launching balls over the trees for laughs. The two men had put on 128 before Chambo was out caught, a dismissal now back in fashion in the minds of the Finchley fielders. 148-2 became 170-5 as CYS and Stent both fell for 2 runs, and Mayo departed for a fantastic 85- to an equally fantastic but probably more suprising catch. Zulfi and Henners were at the crease now and Zulfi was immediately into his stride hitting boundaries to every corner of the ground. Hen soon followed suite with some straight bombs. Finchley's death bowling tactics were perhaps a slight bit questionable, an 8-1 offside field with a medium pacer bowling legside full tosses saw the run rate sky rocket. Zulfiquar took 20 off one over and Hen 14 off the next because of this tactic. Both batters passed 50 , finding the boundaries very easy to come by on the postage stamp park road ground . Shirls eventually waved us in at 303-5 off 45 overs. Zulfi 70* Howeld 60* , a partnership of 132 in 12 overs. After a genuinely note worthy tea, the middies went back out there to defend 300. In all fairness Finchley got off to a good start, Hugh and Alex both beat the bat regularly, but the ball raced away when timed. The opening partnership was worth 44 before thankfully Hugh's missus turned up, so he decided to bend his back a bit and hit the stumps. At the other end Alfie Duke replaced Alex and was dangerous from ball one. Unfortunately ball one was dangerous in the eyes of the law as it soared over the batters head without bouncing , and was collected by Shirls chest high. After this though Alf got into his stride, sending down some great balls- nice nuts Alfie. Despite his great nuts Alfie took himself off 5 times in his 7 over spell. Captain Shirls was rewarded for coaxing the young PGA golf pro back to his bowling mark with a wicket - the dangerous left handed opener trapped plumb infront. At the other end Charlie Yorke Starkey was also in the business of trapping batters plumb in front. First no3 and next no4. The dismissal of no4 was of particular relief to a certain Zulfiquar Azom, as he, rattled from an earlier haram bum pat celebration from Mayo, had shelled the no4 in the slips only a few overs previous. Drinks were taken at 98-4 off 25. With Finchley looking like they were ready to drop anchor Shirls introduced spin into the attack, and after a first ball loosener that was more loose than any of the loose women- past present or future, Henners trapped the no5 infront to get us our 5th. Hen struck again next over with a long hop that was turned into his hands by the no6. Hugh, outraged at the mediocrity at the other end decided to bend his back again and was again rewarded with a wicket- their no8 snicked off to Shirls behind. The following 5 minutes saw the Finchley tailenders lining up to be Hen's next victims- a long hop hit straight to Alfie at midwicket- well caught in the sun. Next a ball n plinked to Alex at Mid on, and finally to wrap up the number 11 was castled to give Henners the filthies of 5fas and the Middies an 166 run victory. Despite coming 3rd at Stumps later that evening, momentum has truly returned to NMCC's most flair team and 7 more wins on the bounce could give us a 4th league win in a row- just saying. Special mention to Tommy Francis who TFC'ed on his 2's debut, there is no doubt that he will be taking many far more proper 5fas for us in the near future. Up the midd and onto next week!
North Midd 3rd XI vs Richmond (Home)
North Midd 266-8 dec 43 overs
Richmond 150-9 from 49 overs
North Midd winning draw (5 points)
Another frustrating week where the 3s outplayed the opposition but were unable to take the tenth wicket. Special mention to Junaid Ahmed who scored 131 in his first appearance of the season. Quality knock. We declared after 43 overs, giving Richmond 49 overs to chase, but didn’t really go for it at any point. Shame. Despite the best efforts of a quality bowling attack, and 4 overs at the end in which their number 11 only faced one ball, we couldn’t quite secure 12 points. Nonetheless - 10 point off top, and a win against leaders Hampstead in 2 weeks could take us to the summit. Be around
North Midd 4th XI vs MTSSC (Away)
MTSCC 160 all out
North Midd 53 all out
MTSCC won by 107
With expectations of a rain card and a day in bed a formidable 4s side took the sizeable treck to Wembley to take on MTSCC in what was an increasingly middle of the table clash. An early contender for quote of the day came from Alfie, as Arj an Lulu pulled into the car park, “I know they have the same last name, but are they brother & sister?”
We turned up to the ground on what we can only hope is the most interesting grounds we will play on all season. NFL practice & an ambulance on the outfield before the game, blue stumps, a pitch only half covered with a visible change of colour from the dry to wet end and half of a tree rolled into the pitch. Bish the north midd exile playing on the pitch next door only added to the mystique of the day. Even the toss was as an event as I was joined by 6 of the opposition, yet another toss lost and what seemed a curious decision by them to bat first on a wet dog.
Alfie (7.5-1-33-3) got us off to a flying start cleaning up their opener middle stump 8-1. At the other end Lulu produced another fantastic spell of consistent bowling (15-1-26-3) to help tie down the opposition. They built pressure together leading to rash shots and a consistent fall of wickets, as for a second week running we held onto our catches really well. 62-5 at drinks was a strong effort. After drinks we lost our way slightly and allowed MTSCC to build some solid partnerships and work their way to a good score. Wickets fell again when it came time for them to hit out. 160 all out overall looked a very decent bowling effort on this pitch to put ourselves in the game.
After probably the best tea of the season, with 4 different varieties of chicken available we headed out to chase. Things were all looking so good at 5-0 before Joe snicked one behind, questionable if it carried but off he had to go. The scorecard didn’t get much better from there as 5-1 turned to 33-6. Itsu’’s #1 cricket influencer Magnus top scored again although this week that was only for 13 rather than the 50s we have seen in previous weeks. The highlight of the innings was probably watching Joe James getting sent off from umpiring as he tried to go out there with a beer in hand, although at £3 a pint you couldn’t blame him. The pitch turning sideways and their other opener swinging it a fair bit, so a collapse caused by conditions rather than silly shots for once. 53 all out and a disappointing loss against a good side, a silver lining is that we were at least back in time for the BBQ. Back home to Douglas Eyre next week against top of the table Ealing.
North Midd 5th XI vs Crouch End (Away)
North Midd 190/7
Crouch End 191/7
North Midd lost by 3 wickets
A disappointing final outcome but positives to take from this match, in particular a superb batting fight back in which an U14 and an U13 played leading roles.
Heavy morning showers in the Barnet area led to the start being delayed for one hour and a reduction in the minimum number of overs from 92 to 84. With a sticky dog in prospect, the toss was more important than ever. Sadly, Charles’ losing streak continued and the mighty 5s were inserted in excellent drying conditions – sun and a fresh breeze. Unfortunately, the drying process was gradual and for the first hour or so the pitch lived up to predictions and was difficult – balls stopping and rearing up. Runs were hard to come by and 3 wickets fell cheaply. At 3 down for not many, enter Nico Smith (U14) currently playing as a batsman/keeper until his back is healed. Nico rightly was more cautious than normal given the circumstances but still took the game to the opposition playing his shots with increasing confidence. One pull for 4 went past the longer boundary by a distance and was surely one of the shots of the Season to date. With the pitch flattening out and the outfield quickening up, the Midd were fighting back. Nico finally fell for an impressive 52. He was replaced by Sacha Tobias-Tarsh (U13) who, after a shaky start, was soon striking the ball cleanly and powerfully. 2 slog sweeps off the off spinner were outstanding. Tim Oon came to the crease at the fall of the 7th wicket and batted with skill and awareness. His partnership with Sacha blossomed and the oppo’s heads went down. 150 was passed and with a flurry of boundaries the score mounted quickly allowing Charles to declare on 190 for 7 at the end of the 44th over. Red ink for Sacha (44) and Tim (32). An impressive turn around by the Midd.
After a Michelin starred tea, the Midd took the field buoyed by the batting fight back and hungry for wickets. Sanjay (2 for 30) opened up and took the first wicket. Before long the CE star bat, Kevin Moody, came to the crease. Rumour has it that this chap was an ex Namibian international who could play a bit and play he did. Virtually from the outset he took on our attack, hitting long and hard. We chipped away at the other end with Tim taking 3 in one amazing over and ending up with 4 for 58 to go with his red inker. At around 110 for 7 we thought we were in the driving seat but Mr Moody had other ideas. Farming the bowling to protect the CE tail, he continued to hit 4s and 6s regularly. He gave a couple of catching chances and survived some close LBW appeals but basically he won the game on his own, finishing on 130 not out steering CE home in the 38th over. His was a brilliant knock. Charles mixed his bowlers (Nirusha (1 wicket) and Shay bowled well and beat the bat at times) and fields but we couldn’t find a way to dislodge him.
This result puts CE top with the Midd 9 points behind in 4th.