Relegation looms for beaten Bessborough
Bessborough ceded control of their own destiny in the Middlesex County Cricket League on Saturday by losing their ninth game of the season away to Harrow Town and slipping to the bottom of the league with only two weeks remaining.
Stand-in captain Sherrick Chavda won the toss and elected to bat on a sweltering hot day and the early signs were promising as openers Kushal Patel (pictured) and Gihan Pallage were scoring at more than six runs per over before Gihan was caught off the last ball of the seventh over for 13 with the score on 45.
The runs continued to flow after the first dismissal but the second wicket came all too quickly in the 11th over with the score on 80 as Kushal was adjudged lbw on 52. That wicket seemed to knock the stuffing out of Bessborough as Rishi Patel (14) and Ian Barrie (12) were soon to follow Kushal back to the pavilion as the middle-order struggled to build partnerships around the battling Chavda (43).
Harrow Town had little difficulty taking care of the tail as the final five wickets fell for only 14 runs as Bessborough were dismissed for a very disappointing 178 in 38 overs.
The home side never looked in danger of collecting anything other than the maximum points as they reached the target in the 42nd over for the loss of five wickets.
North London’s (44 points) surprise victory against Winchmore Hill means they now have a six-point advantage over Bessborough (38 points).
Next week the Borough will need to beat Kenton at Headstone Manor to ensure they retain a chance of saving themselves in the final week, when they will take on Harrow, who themselves are not yet mathematically safe. North London’s next two opponents are Harrow Town (H) and Kenton (A) respectively.
For the second week running Bessborough’s second XI couldn’t deliver the knock-out blow as they searched for the final wicket in their home MCCL game against Wycombe House.
Bessborough scored 206 from their 55 overs with captain Phil Bush (42) and his opening partner Vidoosha Jayawardena (35) top scoring in a first-wicket stand of 67. Number six Mitesh Vyas (31), number seven Shiv Patel (23 not out) and number 10 Rohan Desai (19 not out) provided some much-needed spark down the order after the runs had dried up in the middle overs.
After tea, Bessborough’s bowlers were on the money right from the off and were rewarded with a couple of early wickets before opener Aksh Bhardwaj (34) and number four Vasi Shaikh 22) steadied things up somewhat for WH.
Having broken that stubborn stand Bessborough continued to pick up wickets but with only 45 available the margins were slim and so it proved when the dangerous number eight Thomas (26) was judged to have bumped the ball back to bowler Eranda Jayasinghe (3-22) rather than the clean catch that Bessborough had appealed for.
In the end WH were able to save the game by finishing on 163 for nine. The other bowlers in the wickets were Urooj Ahmed (3-42), Rohan Desai (2-33) and Nitin Modha (1-58).
The result means that Bessborough have three winning draws in a row. Remarkably, of the six winning draws gained by the 2s this season they had the opposition nine down on four occasions and eight down on one other.
Had they won just half of those draws the side could now be relaxing in a comfortable mid-table position instead of fighting for their MCCL survival as they currently are.
A defeat for bottom-placed South Hampstead – who had their penalty for fielding an illegible player reduced from 30 to 25 points during the week – means that Bessborough are currently 11 points ahead with 20 points available and that a win next week at already-safe Ickenham would be enough to secure their MCCL status for another year.
The Third XI moved into second place in Division 2 of the Middlesex 1987 Cricket League with a comfortable win away at Finchley 4s.
Bessborough restricted their hosts to 138 for nine in the full 50 overs with skipper Ian Ridley the star of the show with four for 34 from 19 overs.
Bessborough stumbled somewhat early on in their reply as openers Ridley (11) and Richard Edmands (0) were removed quickly, but a fine partnership of 70 between Praekash Balendra (32) and Sahil Hathi (51, pictured) settled the nerves and got the side to within 40 runs of the win.
Despite the loss of a few cheap wickets the victory was wrapped up in the 32nd over, which with Osterley only managing a winning draw against Twickenham was enough to leapfrog them into the second automatic promotion spot by five points with two games remaining.
North London appear to have secured the title after Ealing conceded for the third time this year.
However, the final league placings could be heavily complicated if the already relegated Ealing concede their two final games as this would mean that all of their results would be expunged. If such a scenario were to happen, Bessborough and North London would both lose 20 points, while Osterley’s tally would only come down by 10 points as they lost to Ealing a few weeks ago.
The 4s won an entertaining 1987 League clash with Turnham Green & Polytechnic at Headstone Manor by three wickets.
The visitors resisted some penetrating early bowling without scoring particularly quickly with opener Alpesh Patel (51) the most fluent. Bessborough continued to restrict TG&P without much change to the wickets-taken column, culminating in a crazy last over when four wickets fell - two to bowler Sunil Baria (2-18) and two run outs – leaving Bessborough a target of 190 in 42 overs.
With bowlers Ravi (6) and Bharat Vyas (15) needing to leave early, stand-in skipper Simon Heaney promoted both to open the batting and they didn’t let him down as the father-and-son duo added 29 runs for the first wicket.
William Gill added some of his usual spice to proceedings with a quick-fire 14, but it was Harris Malik (pictured) who had the biggest influence with a rapid 61, only to be caught deep on the boundary attempting another massive six.
Malik and Heaney (18) added 58 for the fourth wicket, while 'keeper Richard Willson (25), Wasi Ali (20 not out) and Aman Maan (8 not out) finished the job off with 15 balls to spare. Thanks also must go out to the injured John Trowbridge for scoring this game.
The 4s remain in fifth place in Division 5 of the 1987 Cricket League with only a mathematical chance of going up.
The final Lords Chess Valley Sunday League game of the season against Abbots Langley fell victim to the rain and was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
© Cricket World 2015