Brondesbury unable to build on brilliance of Ross

PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 August 2012

Alex Ross

Alex Ross


Alex Ross signed off with a flawless century against Finchley – but Brondesbury are running out of time to beat the drop from the Premier Division after failing to force victory.

Ross, who was making his last appearance for the club before joining the junior ranks at South Australia, hammered 120 to set up an enormous total of 338-6 at Harman Drive.

Brondesbury should have sealed a crucial 10 points after reducing their visitors to 101-8 in reply – only to be thwarted by teenage duo Ross Sutcliff and Imran Qayyum, who played out the match with an unbroken partnership of 123.

“Saturday was definitely the most frustrating game I’ve played in,” admitted Brondesbury captain Byron Vermaak. “We threw everything we possibly could to bowl Finchley out.

“But it wasn’t meant to be – hats off to the two young players that fought it out. I am determined to get 10 points on Saturday and put pressure on Hampstead and Stanmore, who are not that far away from us.

“Alex has some serious talent and the shots he played were top-class. He batted aggressively but with well-executed strokes that he made look so easy and it was a pity that he didn’t go through to 150.”

Vermaak won the toss, chose to bat and, although James Overy (9) was caught behind off Hassan Khan, the skipper’s faith in his batsmen was fully vindicated.

Scott McKechnie (47) and Tom Simpson (92) built momentum with a stand of 65 and, following McKechnie’s dismissal by Qayyum, Ross took centre stage.

He and Simpson put on 120 for the third wicket, but the latter fell to Jake Milton eight short of a deserved ton and, with Sam Smith (8) stumped soon afterwards, Brondesbury were in danger of stalling at 237-4.

But Nick Jones produced some impressive straight drives in a breezy knock of 44 and, together with Ross – who struck 17 fours and a six in his 96-ball innings – guided the home team to an imposing 338-6 from 59 overs.

Brondesbury’s seamers were soon among the wickets, with Robbie Williams (2-27) marking his return from injury by having danger man Steve Selwood (5) caught behind.

Vermaak (2-50) followed that up with the wicket of Milton (7), and Smith (2-57) got rid of Josh Knappett (19) and Majed Ali (5) before Hamza Qayyum (44) edged Vermaak into the gloves of McKechnie at 84-5.

Finchley’s prospects of survival appeared bleak when Ross caught Keerthi Ranasinghe (8) in the gully and spinner Kishen Ladva (2-38) then accounted for Hassan Khan (1) and Andrew Plummer, for a duck, in the same over.

Yet Brondesbury were unable to press home their advantage and Sutcliff (56 not out) and Qayyum (70no) capitalised on some attacking fields to get the scoreboard moving again.

While the ninth-wicket pair grew in confidence, Brondesbury seemed to lose their focus and in the end the visitors secured safety with some ease at 224-8.

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