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Bessborough rue bad batting again

Nitin Modha picked up his sixth five-wicket haul of the season as the 2nd XI drew this week
Nitin Modha picked up his sixth five-wicket haul of the season as the 2nd XI drew this week
©Bessborough CC

Bessborough’s batting once again let them down as they failed to chase down a low target, this time being rolled for 127 chasing 180 against Middlesex County Cricket League Division 3 leaders Highgate.

The bowlers had set things up by restricting Highgate to 179 all out in 55 overs, their lowest complete innings total of the season. Spinners Sherrick Chavda (4-32) and Kibreeth Rameez (4-62) caused the most havoc to Highgate, who at stages were 26 for four and 54 for five before a sixth-wicket stand of 61 between Will Brookes (36) and Craig Gourlay (39) put them back on the road to respectability and some useful lower-order knocks added what proved to be the extra winning runs.

Bessborough’s reply got off to a horrible start with Ishan Shah perishing in the first over without scoring, but Kushal Patel (22) and Rishi Patel (4) dug in to add 37 for the second wicket.

Sadly, that was the best partnership Bessborough could muster as wickets tumbled with monotonous regularity. Only three other players made it to double figures with Jigar Shah top scoring with 28 as the side meekly surrendered to 127 all out in 41.2 overs (bizarrely, the exact same number of balls they lasted the week before posting 133).

Fortunately, bottom-placed North London didn’t capitalise as they narrowly lost by one wicket to Barnes so the gap between them and us remains at three points with four games remaining.

Next up, Bessborough entertain fourth-placed Winchmore Hill at Headstone Manor and will be looking to avenge previous heavy away defeats in the Middlesex Cup and MCCL this season. 

The second XI arguably produced one of their best performances of the season in their home game against league leaders Wembley but it wasn’t quite enough to capture the maximum 10 points.

Batting first on the Headstone Manor road, Bessborough scored 238 for four from the full 55 overs with Adil Parker (60), Urooj Ahmed (55) and Mitesh Vyas (66) responsible for the bulk of the runs.

Another inspired bowling performance by Nitin Modha (5-29) - his sixth five-fer of the year - nearly brought victory but Wembley’s lower order clung on at 129 for eight, leaving Bessborough to make do with four points from a winning draw.

Despite not winning Bessborough were lifted off the bottom of the league due to South Hampstead being docked 30 points for repeatedly fielding an illegible player. Their penalty means that they are now eight points below, while Bessborough are four points behind Harrow, who lost on Saturday and who Bessborough visit next Saturday in what will be a very tense relegation tussle.

The Third XI had to settle for their third winning draw on the trot away to Indian Gymkhana in Division 2 of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League.

Captain Ian Ridley once again lost the toss and was put in to bat on an uncut strip. The Bessborough batsmen did well not to let their dissatisfaction of the conditions and poor facilities (no changing rooms or toilets) affect their game as they posted another daunting total - 260 for four declared off 46 overs.

The runs came from Vidoosha Jayawardena (75) – his best ever for a senior Bessborough team; Richard Clarke (55), Sanil Shah (41) and Vinay Bhudia (50 not out).

Gymkhana’s opener Shakeel (75) was a tough nut to crack but Bessborough were able to take the wickets of his team-mates more easily. Despite having six or so overs at the last-wicket pair the home side just about held on to restrict us to four points.

Bessborough slip to fourth place after this result, but remain very much in touching distance of the second automatic promotion spot being only two points behind current incumbents Twickenham, who they take on at Headstone Manor next Saturday.

North London were gifted a big advantage in the title race after picking up a win without having to play when Teddington conceded, meaning they lead by 16 points with four games to go.

The 4s delivered one of their best batting performances of the season at home to Alexandra Park, scoring 262 for six declared in 46 overs. Opener Beavan Fernando went off like a train with 30 in just five overs before he was caught at mid-on mistiming a full toss.

After the dismissal of Beavan and number three Harris Malik (0), Bessborough’s stand-in skipper and opener Simon Heaney continued the bludgeoning of the AP attack. Heaney and Praekash Balendra put on 91 for the third wicket before Heaney was caught at first slip in the 21st over for 71.   

Balendra continued to provide a steady influence at one end as Aman Maan (38) launched into the ball, eventually edging behind after scoring a well-crafted 54. Colt Jamie Young (36) and Bharat Vyas (14 not out) added some quick runs at the end allowing Heaney to declare after 46 overs with a formidable target of 263.

Fidel Ragbeer (7) showed some early intent with a huge six to cow corner but once he was out the away side seemed to give up the notion of going for the win and were content to block out for the majority of their innings.

A couple of routine dropped chances didn’t help Bessborough’s cause but it was another abject lesson that bowling first is imperative in this league to have the best chance of winning.

AP’s negative approach was all the more odd as the 1987 League had announced that due to teams from higher divisions pulling out the number of promoted sides from Division 5 has been increased to three, which both sides had outside chances of attaining before the game.

It’s not quite all over for the 4s but they will probably have to win every one of their remaining four games to pip Old Actonians to third place.

On Tuesday evening a very strong West Harrow side flayed the Barbarians around their pitch at Headstone Manor, comfortably winning the final T20 friendly of the season by 73 runs.

© Cricket World 2015

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