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Ishan century secures draw for Bessborough

Ishan Shah's 123 not out was his first century for Bessborough
Ishan Shah's 123 not out was his first century for Bessborough
©Bessborough CC
Urooj Ahmed scored 82 not out and took three wickets in a winning draw for the 2nd XI
Urooj Ahmed scored 82 not out and took three wickets in a winning draw for the 2nd XI
©Bessborough CC
Stephen Kimsey took a vital five-wicket haul for the 3rd XI
Stephen Kimsey took a vital five-wicket haul for the 3rd XI
©Bessborough CC

A superb unbeaten century from Ishan Shah ensured Bessborough did enough to claim a draw in a high-scoring Middlesex County Cricket League game against Winchmore Hill at Headstone Manor on Saturday.

Despite some overnight rain in the days leading up to the game the covered strip remained perfect for batting and the visitors certainly feasted themselves after having been put in, scoring a mammoth 291 for two declared in 50 overs.

Morgan Prior with a blistering 141 not out and Jim Gatting with 102 were the chief run-getters for Winchmore Hill.

After the pretty woeful batting displays of recent weeks Bessborough captain Rohan Karkhanis would not have enjoyed the tea interval, but for once his batsmen showed their quality with opener Ishan expertly leading the reply with 123 not out, his first century for the club.

Ishan’s innings included 19 fours and one six, which helped the side reach 216 for four in their 50 overs, giving them one point from a losing draw. Rishi Patel also helped the cause with a confidence-building 38 in a fourth-wicket partnership with Ishan of 98.

Things remain tight at the bottom of the league as bottom side North London lost and therefore slip to four points behind Bessorough.

Next week Bessborough take on mid-table Harrow Town in a game that will struggle to live up to the entertainment served up in the previous tied game back in June.

The second XI came agonisingly close to picking up a win in their MCCL relegation dogfight with Harrow, but had to settle for a winning draw as they couldn’t oust the final pair.

Bessborough declared on 193 for seven in 52 overs with overseas star Urooj Ahmed (pictured) putting in another commanding performance with 82 not out. Captain Phil Bush was the next top scorer with 30 as most of the other batsmen were happy to give the strike to Urooj whenever possible.

Harrow’s reply was littered with wickets as Urooj (3-26); Nitin Modha (3-34) and Rohan Desai (3-37) produced some excellent spells but frustratingly couldn’t find that last one that would have claimed the 10 points as Harrow closed on 120 for nine.

Even so, the four points gained did enable Bessborough to close the gap to Harrow to just a solitary point and extend their advantage over losers South Hampstead to 12 points.

Pending an appeal over the 30 points South Hampstead were docked, theoretically Bessborough could ensure their survival next week with a win at home to Wycombe House, combined with a defeat or losing draw for South Hampstead, who are at home to Harrow.

The Third XI pulled off a remarkable comeback victory in their vital promotion clash with Twickenham in Division Two of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League.

On a damp uncovered strip on the top Headstone Manor pitch the home side were reduced to one of their lowest scores of the season of 141 all out and at tea were facing the prospect of their excellent season coming to nought.

Twickenham though hadn’t reckoned on Stephen Kimsey (pictured) bowling the best spell of his short Bessborough career with a quite brilliant 15-over burst that returned five for 24 and helped skittle them for 87 in just under 38 overs.

Kimsey was brilliantly backed up by his fellow bowlers Eranda Jayasinghe (1-23), Richard Clarke (2-20) and Ajan Sivakumar (2-8).

That win was even more vital as the new top two of North London (109 points) and Osterley (91 points) both won, meaning that Bessborough (90 points) will have to wait at least one more week to break into the automatic promotion spots. They will get the chance next weekend when they travel to Finchley and hope that Ealing do them a big favour against Osterley.

The 4s lingering hopes of promotion were pretty much extinguished on Saturday as they lost by 38 runs away to league leaders Hornsey.

A tight opening spell of bowling by colts Ravi Vyas (1-50) and Sujan Sivakumar (4-18) restricted Hornsey to little more than 2.5 runs per over up until the drinks break at 25 overs, but some expensive change bowling when 56 runs were scored in six overs shifted momentum back towards the home side.

However, the team regrouped and soon regained a measure of control as Hornsey declared on 195 for eight from 47 overs.

Bessborough’s response got off to a horrible start as opener Simon Heaney was bowled for a duck in the first over, but fellow opener Beaven Fernando and former captain Sahil Hathi did their best to get back on track with a second-wicket stand of 66 before Hathi was excellently caught on the run by the spritely Kacey Garett-Paul for 27 off the bowling of spinner Tahir (6-67).

Tahir was causing all sorts of problems and none of the senior batsmen were able to stick around with the talented young Beaven who was finally trapped lbw on 49 by Garett-Paul (1-22) after looking well set.

His brother Stefaan showed his quality with the bat too, scoring 32, but apart from number 10 Bharat Vyas (19) no other Bessborough batsmen could take the fight to the opposition as Bessborough were dismissed for 156.

The 4s retain only the slimmest of chances of taking the third and final promotion place, but will need to win all of their remaining three games and hope that both Old Actonians and West Harrow come off the rails.

The Sunday XI’s were beaten by 184 runs by Harrow Town in the Lords Chess Valley Sunday League.

© Cricket World 2015

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