With 2 games to go, North Midd remain top of the Prem – 2 wins and the title will be ours for the first time since the Premier League was introduced. No pressure lads!
[Note - apologies for the delay in publication caused by website upgrade issues. Also for the lack of photos - trascription issues]
Here are the Match Reports for 24th Aug 2019 -
North Midd 1st XI vs Shepherds Bush (Away)
North Midd 323-5 from 50 overs
Shepherd's Bush 146 all out from 38.5 overs
North Midd win by 177 runs
We arrived at Shepherd's Bush knowing that 3 wins from our last 3 games would take us to our first league title. The pressure was on then, against a side who dispatched our closest rivals Ealing last week, #bleedgreen, a Shepherd's Bush side full of confidence and bolstered by the inclusion of their Middlesex man Max Holden. Captain Hughes called decisively and correctly and chose to bat before the opposition captain had even seen the gleaming and predicted head shining up from a green-tinged but healthy-looking wicket. Joe Cracknell began proceedings for the Midd against She Bu's champion javelin thrower Howell and started his innings like a man with somewhere to be very urgently. He swished his way to 18 off 5 balls before edging an expansive drive to the waiting hands of first slip. We were 21-1 off 1. Classic Midd.
Evan joined Luke and played 2 sumptuous off-drives before succumbing to one that spat from the wicket and he nicked behind. Parslow showed his intent early with a couple of well-timed lofted drives off the spinners and shared a partnership of 69 with Luke before the latter picked out deep mid-wicket shortly after reaching his 50. Luke eventually dragged himself, disbelieving from the field and enter William Vanderspar. Gee, he's batting well. He continued to show his great form and considerable skill in compiling another 80 not out, including controlled drives, cheeky sweeps and a couple of large homers, what a lovely player he is.
Vanders and Pars put on 81 for the 4th wicket, Pars batted beautifully as well – mixing power with touch as he consistently managed to beat short third man with some positively posthumous cuts. Finally though it was to be the death of him as he eventually missed one that spun back and hit off stump, a finely compiled 81 to his name. The platform was set and in came She Bu's tormentor from 2018, Tommy Nicoll. He started where he left off in whacking 31 in no time, including the 2 biggest homers of the day, one dispatched over deep midwicket, the other over long on, both ginormous. Tommy and Vanders shared 84 off 57 before the former was adjudged LBW to one that looked dubious at best but it was undoubtedly out in the book. There was enough time for a Beastly cameo (8 not out) and a 20 run partnership between Vanders and Rob Fahrenheim, the latter nailing a pull shot only minutes after Captain Hughes had been paying homage to Beast's unusual execution of the stroke. Hats off to Vanders for another composed 50, finishing 86 not out and helping us reach an imposing 323-5 from our 50 overs.
If She Bu were going to get close they needed a good start and huge contributions from their key men. Brydon started well enough with a couple of boundaries off Hughes but we struck a crucial blow when Bamber trapped him in front in the 4th over. That bought dangerman Max Holden to the crease. He started tentatively in the face of some tight bowling. Dr Negligence Liam O'Driscoll was brought into the attack in the 10th over and Holden perhaps saw his opportunity to attack. An ugly hoik bought him two to the vacant midwicket, but when he tried to exploit the gap again he came unstuck as he managed to outside edge one onto middle stump. Holden out for 13 and She Bu's game was almost up. Liam tormented the She Bu batters (moslty left handers) for the next 10 overs picking up 2 more wickets – overseas played on and captain neatly caught at first slip – to finish with 3-20 off his 10 overs, a lovely display of swing and seam bowling with the pink ball. Bamber chipped in too, picking up and a further 2 wickets to finish with 3-41. A wicket apiece for Luke and Tommy got them to 8 down, before Captain Hughes played his captain's card and bought himself back on to dismiss numbers 10 and 11, with calls from the side (from Shep) of 'are you Rich Carroll in disguise?'.
She Bu were all out for 146 in 38.5 overs, a win for the Midd by 177 runs. Another hugely dominant performance which sets us up nicely for our last 2 games. Next week is huge, Teddington at home and we can't wait. Up the Midd!
North Midd 2nd XI vs Acton (Home)
North Midd 265-7 from 45 overs
Acton 161 from 32.5 overs
North Midd won by 104 runs
Having secured both official relegation avoidance and official title avoidance the previous week, NMCC 2's lightly ambled up to their penultimate home game of the year against the zen and always affable Acton CC. Expecting 45 overs of Spin, we were pleasantly surprised to see Acton open with a seamer from one of the ends, this was an experiment that didn't last long though as Henners took 17 off his second over. Willy Nic (6) had been LBW sweeping in the second over of the day, but this didn't slow the runrate. Shirls, in the form of his life, joined Henners and they picked up a boundary or two every over for the first 10 despite the introduction of Reeve, lobbing hand grenades with 4 men out straight. Henners passed 50 but tasted his own medicine the next over as he was caught in the deep off a full bunger (51) CYS (8) was next to the crease, but soon back under the gazebo having tried to sweep ol'man Reeve off of middle. All the while Shirls was accumulating runs here and there, samba-ing down the track like Stacey Dooley. He was eventually bowled for a well constructed 43. Chad took over the mantle from Shirls and began depositing bombs all over the ground with a flamingo back leg and an Aussie arrogance. At the other end MCrack was as assured as ever, though sometimes his scorecard did look a lot like binary code. Chad fell LBW for 45 in the 35th over, but good news was to come in the 40th, as MCrack hit his first boundary having already amassed 42 runs in singles. In that time Junaid had hit a few and Willy Crack (replacement for Zulfi who wanted to show everyone his new white air max rather than play cricket) was now in trying to juggle hitting sweet cover drives and doing his best to not get run out by his younger brother. We eventually blasted our way up to 265-7 off 45. MCrack 63* , WCrack 22.
Going out to bowl we knew it would be tough having already identified this pitch and boundary combo as the primary method used to cull fast bowlers. Acton had a couple guys who biffed it at the top of the order and raced at 8's for the majority of the powerplay. Lowe though was undeterred and went bang bang in his 5th over , a loose drive caught well by Chad at mid off and a top quality Yorker. At 83-2 the spinners came on to make use of the Bunsen that honestly might as well have been situated next to the ganjes. Both Henners and Will found prodigious spin, although as usual Henner's first wicket bypassed the deck, a full bunger hit hard back at him to be c+b. The next wicket came via a runout, MCracks arm was tested and passed with flying colours - Shirls very tidy behind the stumps on this (and every) occasion. Shirls' gloves proved useful yet again in the next over as he snaffled a snick behind off Henners. 105-5 and the floodgates were open. We've seen it all before (Millsy 1001 times). With a pitch ragging square it was inevitable that Acton's good work up top would be undone later on. Henners quickly had 2 more , both well caught by Lowe at mid on, and Willy Nic got in the action with 2 wickets of his own, both plumb in front, he was unlucky not to have a 3rd- Rev suggesting it was probably out, but not definitely out so he didn't give it. Torch ended his spell with figures of 9-1-17-2, so it was up to Birdy and Howeld to race to burgle the final wicket, ultimately Howeld got there first with the penultimate ball of his spell , an LBW that caused a few post game tiffs amongst the Acton lot and their umpire. Howeld 5-37 and Acton subsided for 161.
Next week is our final away game, and away it is- Osterley, otherwise known as Heathrow Terminal 6, if it goes well we could all be on the next budget airlines flight to Kiev with a couple of cans in full whites. See you there.
North Midd 3rd XI vs Osterley (Home)
Osterley conceded - 10 points to North Midd
North Midd 4th XI vs Uxbridge (Away)
Uxbridge 217 all out
North Midd 141 all out
Uxbridge win by 76
An early morning meet for the long drive across to Merchant Taylor ground for a middle of the table clash against Uxbridge. Organisation of the day wasn’t great with the skipper forgetting to tell a few of the team our venue until the 5 mins before the meet time. (Fine #1) 4 pitches at the ground we proceeded to sit and look over the wrong pitch for half an hour before being alerted to the fact that we were in fact playing elsewhere. Sight screens, 2 scoreboards, boundary ropes all on show it truly was a treat to get play on this pitch with the changing room with nothing in except for a toilet filled with sawdust was the one strange knock to facilities. It looked like the M1 on the drive down wouldn’t be the only road we would be enjoying today so Tom duly lost the toss and was invited to bowl.
Sanjay and Jonny opened up and got us off to a pretty tight start. Their opener who had been “coaching” his partner on proper technique chipped a soft chance straight to Matty Thal at extra cover for Jonny’s first. I would suggest their other opener ignore all the coaching as he departed for 2 whilst his partner would go on to score a very well played 116. Jonny cleaned up their number 3 for his second in his opening spell before it was time to turn to spin from both ends. With both their batsmen settling in the game became more about keeping runs down over taking wickets. Nirusha (12-0-61-1) settled in on a decent length, whilst Tom still dealing with the yips was back to his old tricks of full tosses and half trackers, only this week the batsmen were good enough to smash a lot of straight bombs off the dross he was tossing down. We went into 2nd drinks at 154-2 before tom finally got their number 4 to glance one to George behind the stumps and save him from the dreaded minus 40. He did the proceed the next ball so wide it missed the entire square and thought it the right time to get himself out the attack. Nirusha left the minus 40 avoidance even later getting the opener to smash one down Tom’s throat at long on, money was on the ball all the way but thankfully it stuck as a drop there would probably have cost us 60 or 70 more. Matty Thal came into the attack and after the oblivious skipper had pushed the sight screen the wrong way to everyone’s delight (Fine #2), Matty managed a “cardboard copy” of Tom’s dismissal as the skipper described it (Fine #3). Jonny came back into the attack and we managed to really peg them back. A clean bowled and sharp stumping from George left Matty on a hat trick, where he served up a lovely jug avoiding wide one to be left alone. Jonny (12-2-30-3) cleaned up their number 10 in what was an extremely tight spell for us leaving Matty to bowl the last over at their number 11. He tried his best to avoid the jug earlier but the number 11 chipped one straight to arj to bring up his maiden 4s 5fer (6.4-0-33-5). 217 all out and we did a really good job to drag it back. Opening up AT & Alec looked settled before AT was trapped in front and triggered by Charles, queue tantrum about a ball that was smashing middle stump out the ground. Alec then got a ball that had everyone’s name on it that moved in a mile and actually broke middle stump. Arj, Charles and George all got decent balls from the same bowler who ended with 5-24, we slipped to 42-5. Jonny & KP (28) recovered for us before KP missed a straight one to bring the skipper to the crease. His stellar day continued dragging one on first ball (Fine #4) to become the proud new owner of the duck shirt. Nirusha (14) joined Jonny at the crease and set about pulling together a late 50 partnership to recover a semblance of respectability to the scorecard. Nirusha was finally caught and after Matty managed to ruin his fantasy points total with another blob, Sanjay strode out to join Jonny who at this point was on 47 for the final wicket. Sanjay went about smashing their attack with 17 from 8 balls, before farming the strike off Jonny and getting cleaned up. Jonny finished 48 red and we were 141 all out. 2 weeks left to go and back home against Brondesbury next week.
North Midd 5th XI vs Highgate (Home)
Highgate conceded - 10 points to North Midd