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Bessborough escape the drop on 'Survival Saturday'

Neal Patel
Neal Patel
©Bessborough CC
The third XI have sealed promotion
The third XI have sealed promotion
©Bessborough CC

Bessborough secured their Middlesex County Cricket League status on “Survival Saturday” by routing their opposition for the second week in a row.

Knowing only victory away at Harrow was good enough the task became even tougher when the home side won the toss and elected to field, meaning that Bessborough would have to take all 10 wickets in the second innings.

Openers Ishan Shah (58) and Gihan Pallage (42) provided a solid foundation with a first-wicket stand of 61 but when the latter was dislodged so were Jigar Shah (0), Ian Barrie (13), Sherrick Chavda (0) and then Ishan in quick succession, leaving Bessborough in a spot of bother on 128 for five.

Number six Hemmen Jutla stepped up with his best score of the season with a classy 50 as he and Tharshan Kanagaraj (19) added 60 runs to get the side up to 188 for six and poised to set a big total.

However, another trademark lower-order collapse saw the last four wickets fall for only 14 runs as Bessborough closed on 202 after 47 overs.

A run of four defeats in a row had dragged Harrow into the danger zone and their lack of confidence was evident from the start as Bessborough’s hero of last week, pace bowler Neal Patel (pictured), continued where he left off with another devastating spell. For the second week running Patel delivered his best figures for the club, this time picking up five for 17 in 14 overs as Harrow were skittled for 52 runs, condemning them to relegation.

The other wicket-takers were Gihan Pallage (3-12) and skipper Rohan Karkhanis (2-5) who finished as the side’s leading wicket-taker in the MCCL with 30 at an average of 22.43. Ishan Shah ended the season as the leading run-scorer in the league with 401 at 33.42.

The second XI were buoyed by the confirmation late on Friday that South Hampstead's 25-point deduction would stand, meaning that they would be safe no matter the result against Kenton.

However, the side didn’t relax and went on to produce one of their best all round performances of the season; firstly declaring on 233 for four in 47 overs (Urooj Ahmed 81 not out, Mitesh Vyas 61) and then blowing away an unfamiliar looking Kenton line-up for only 50 (Jay Chavda takingf ive for 27).

Remarkably, the win propelled the side from second-bottom to a final placing of sixth such was the congested nature of the bottom half of the league.

Mitesh finished as the 2s leading run-scorer in the MCCL with 318 at 35.33, while since arriving at the end of July Urooj Ahmed (pictured) managed to score 304 league runs at an incredible average of 101.33.

Leading wicket-taker was the evergreen Nitin Modha with 40 victims at 13.53, including four five-wicket hauls for the 2s (plus two more five-fers for the 1s).

The Third XI (pictured) secured promotion back to Division 1 of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League at the first attempt with a seven-wicket victory away to bottom-placed South Hampstead.

Despite their lowly position the hosts provided a big scare as they were coasting towards a large score in their innings on 165 for three but things changed dramatically back in Bessborough's favour when their opener and linchpin W. Abbasi was dismissed by Nandesh Patel for 107.

Thereafter Patel spun his magic to end South Hampstead’s resistance on 206 after 39 overs, in the process picking up five for 42.

Bessborough’s talented batting line-up showed no fear as they completed the difficult chase in just over 33 overs, with skipper Ian Ridley (36), Vidoosha Jayawardena (51) and Richard Edmands (53 not out) doing the bulk of the work, while Rajan Modha (27) and Vinay Bhudia (19 not out) added some quick runs to finish the job.

The side finished three points behind league champions North London, who benefited from two conceded wins to Bessborough's one, with promotion achieved on the back of a superb 12-game unbeaten streak that included eight wins and four winning draws.

Picking a player of the season will not be an easy task with so many worthy candidates. The side’s leading run-scorer was James Wheeler who in only seven games plundered 465 runs (two centuries and two fifties) at an average of 77.50, closely followed by Vidoosha Jayawardena on 438 runs (six half centuries in eight innings!) at 62.57.

The nearly ever-present skipper Ian Ridley was also in the runs with 351 at 21.94, while he also bagged 23 wickets at 18.26. The leading wicket-taker was Stephen Kimsey with 26 at 15.58 with a best of five for 24 that rescued the side against Twickenham on 15 August.

The fourth XI once again blew the chances of a clean sweep for the club as they waited until the last game of the season to produce their worst performance, losing by six wickets to North London after being dismissed for 61.

Despite the loss, the side finished in a comfortable sixth place and can take solace in the fact they succeeded in their primary objective of developing young players with 10 colts getting game time over the course of the year.

Undoubtedly the biggest success story in the 4s was 14-year-old Jamie Young who finished as the second leading run-scorer (243 at 30.38) and as the leading wicket-taker (18 at 15.22).

The 2015 season concludes next Saturday at Headstone Manor with the annual Colin Horsley Trophy match between colts and seniors.

© Cricket World 2015

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