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Rain hits all four Bessborough teams on wet weekend

Urooj Ahmed struck 88, his highest score of the season so far
Urooj Ahmed struck 88, his highest score of the season so far
©Bessborough CC

A rain-hit weekend saw all four Bessborough CC teams affected on Saturday with the first team suffering most as they could only secure a losing draw against Uxbridge.

As a result, they remain bottom of the Middlesex County Cricket League while elsewhere there was plenty of drama as both the second and third teams picked up victories.

Stand-in first-team skipper Sherrick Chavda lost the toss and was put in to bat which had painful consequences as three wickets fell in the first five overs to leave Bessborough teetering on 12 for three.

Overseas player Urooj Ahmed (pictured) and Ian Barrie (18) added 30 runs together before the latter was dismissed in the 13th over.

Urooj continued to slowly rebuild the innings with fine partnerships of 61 with Kibreeth Rameeez (33) and 57 with Will Grogan (17) before he was stumped off namesake Shakil (2-72) trying to up the rate on 88, his highest score of the year.

Some late hitting from Vivek Patel (19 not out) helped Bessborough to a final score of 203 for nine from the full 55 overs.

A rain interruption reduced the number of overs available to Uxbridge to 37 and the home side fell 25 runs short of the winning line, closing on 179 for five. Opener Aman Quadri was left unbeaten on 71, while the pick of the bowlers were Vivek Patel (2-47) and Kibreeth Rameez (2-53).

The single point gained from the losing draw leaves Bessborough eight points adrift of their nearest rivals, but a win next week at Harrow Town would see them leapfrog the opposition.

After two frustrating weekends of abandoned games the second team were glad to finally get a game on, with local rivals Harrow St. Mary’s making the short trip down Headstone Lane.

Bessborough produced an excellent display in the field by restricting the visitors to 157 for nine from 51 overs. Star bowler once again was evergreen spinner Nitin Modha (5-53) who bagged his first five-for of the year, but the fielding was also of a high standard with six catches and a run out.

A couple of early wickets gave HSM hope of a victory but Talha Junaid (45) and Saghar Tanoli (64) – his third half-century in five innings – settled any nerves in the home dressing room.

A flurry of four wickets took some of the shine off the win, but Rupert Thacker (25 not out), playing his first game for the club since 2012, and captain Phil Bush (2 not out) were left standing when the side reached the target in the 42nd over.

The 10 points from the four-wicket win moved Bessborough up to seventh place, and within striking distance of the next two sides, on 34 points at the halfway stage of the season with nine games played.

Ian Ridley’s third XI won their first league game since the end of May with a thrilling final-over success over Enfield at Headstone Manor.

On an overcast afternoon, Ridley won a rare toss and asked Enfield to bat. The opening attack of Ridley and Steve Kimsey bowled an excellent early spell but were rewarded with only one wicket.

Then in the 13th over Kimsey bowled two brilliant deliveries to dismiss Enfield’s captain James Quinlan (16) and Edward Breffitt (15), both of whom were starting to look well set.

The Enfield middle order rallied, but their scoring rate was kept in check by a disciplined bowling performance. An inspired bowling change saw Daniel Malik (2-13) take two key wickets in the same over, including Enfield’s top scorer Syed Mughees Hassan (46).

After that, Enfield limped to 176 for eight off 50 overs with Kimsey being the pick of the bowlers, finishing with five for 55 off 15 overs.

Bessborough’s reply got off to a poor start when openers James Wheeler (8) and Thanushan Sundarlingham (2) were dismissed within the opening five overs. A break for rain meant that the side had only 37 overs to chase the target and were not helped by the dismissal of Sahil Hathi (14) shortly after the resumption.

Debutant Rafiq Muhammed joined Harris Malik at the crease and the pair started a counter attack with Muhammed scoring 25. Malik was then joined by Vinay Bhudia (12) and a steady partnership between the pair took the team past the score required for a winning draw and left the side needing 52 off the final six overs for all 10 points on offer.

Malik combined steady defence with some powerful strokeplay as he scored his first half-century of the season as he led the assault on the target of 177. Under-17 star Sujan Sivakumar came in and struck a breezy 25 off 15 balls to give Bessborough an outside chance of victory, but with only a few runs required both Malik (62) and Sivakumar were dismissed and the target was five runs from the final over with captain Ridley (1 not out) and Daniel Malik (10 not out) at the crease.

After scrambling three runs from the first four balls, Malik flicked a ball into the leg side off the penultimate ball to clinch a fantastic win.

The third team are now joint fourth in the 1987 Cricket League Division 1, but need runaway leaders Southgate to slip up badly if they are to take the only available promotion spot.

The fourth team were involved in a run-fest at North London’s satellite ground in deepest Walthamstow, leaving with a hard-earned winning draw.

Batting first, Bessborough’s middle order of Eddie Idrees (75) and Beavan Fernando (65) shrugged off the fairly cheap loss of the top order with some elegant and powerful hitting on a lightning-fast outfield.

The pair put on 97 for the fourth wicket, while late-order knocks from Praekash Balendra (52 not out) and Stefan Fernando (18) helped the side declare on a best-ever total of 274 for eight from 42 overs.

Rather than block out for the draw as many sides in this league would, North London decided to fight fire with fire and were keeping up with run rate thanks to the power-hitting of opener Ben Scott (72), who was ably supported by Howard Lee (41) and Simon Docking (32).

A biblical storm cut the available overs down to 44 and with Harry Heptonstall (65 not out) blazing away it seemed that an unlikely victory might be on the cards.

Fortunately for Bessborough, pace bowler Eddie Idrees (3- 52) managed to slow North London’s charge with a couple of excellent wickets and some tight fielding kept Heptonstall away from the strike as much as possible.

In the end a highly competitive game concluded with the home side finishing 20 runs shy of victory on 255 for eight from 45 overs.

The winning draw leaves Bessborough rooted to the bottom of the league, but a win next week away to Wembley – who beat them in the first game of the season by dismissing the team for 33 - could be enough to finally get out of the relegation zone as well as repairing some damaged pride.

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