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Cox steers Brondesbury in the right direction

PUBLISHED: 12:48 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:17 24 August 2010

Mat Cox of Brondesbury appeals for an LBW during the Middlesex County League Division One game between Hampstead and Brondesbury, played at Lymington Road, Hampstead on Sat June 21, 2008

Mat Cox of Brondesbury appeals for an LBW during the Middlesex County League Division One game between Hampstead and Brondesbury, played at Lymington Road, Hampstead on Sat June 21, 2008

Max Flego Sports Photography

MATT Cox s marathon spell of bowling put Brondesbury in the driving seat – but they had to settle for a winning draw as time caught them up at Hampstead. The spinner sent down 29 overs in a row, finishing with figures of 4-70 as the home side used up 68 o

MATT Cox's marathon spell of bowling put Brondesbury in the driving seat - but they had to settle for a winning draw as time caught them up at Hampstead.

The spinner sent down 29 overs in a row, finishing with figures of 4-70 as the home side used up 68 overs of a reduced match in crawling to 241 all out.

That meant Brondesbury had to score at more than five and a half an over for the victory, and it was a task that proved too much for them, despite an undefeated half-century from Ben Claypole.

"It's a shame we didn't get the win but we weren't far off," observed Brondesbury skipper Tom Simpson. "I was surprised Hampstead kept batting that long, but their number one priority was not to lose.

"We felt if we could bowl them out in 60 overs, the game was ours for the taking - but we couldn't quite make the breakthrough in the last 10 or so.

"It was probably the best spell Matt's bowled for us. He caused every one of their batsmen problems and I can only remember him conceding two or three boundaries, which is phenomenal for an off-spinner."

Middlesex bowler Danny Evans bowled well after Simpson had sent Hampstead in to bat and Cox then took over, with Claypole also putting in a lengthy stint at the other end.

Mark Harvey struck 51 not out for the home side, but Claypole finished with figures of 4-63 and Cox pegged Hampstead back, capturing the prized wicket of home captain Paul Weekes in the process.

Brondesbury were unable to finish off the tail, though - and ultimately that cost them as they set off in pursuit of a testing target.

Fresh from his eye-catching Twenty20 half-century in Middlesex colours, Billy Godleman hit a rapid 20 before missing a straight delivery and, with Simpson and Ed Crowther going cheaply, Brondesbury found themselves in trouble at 50-3.

Claypole steadied the ship, even though he was forced to curb his natural instincts as Weekes bowled round the wicket to a packed leg-side field and made it difficult for the batsmen to score.

Nick Jones contributed 25, while teenager Tom Nicoll hit an unbeaten 30 and, together with Claypole (62 not out), saw the game to its conclusion at 176-5.

"We tried to set a base and have a go in the last 10 overs," said Simpson. "Unfortunately we lost wickets and it didn't work out that way.

"But Ben played a good innings - he batted very sensibly and Tom Nicoll looked very mature coming in at seven, so that shows you how deep our batting is."

With the top three sides all winning, the result leaves Brondesbury in fourth place, 15 points off the Premier Division leadership as they prepare for the visit of Stanmore this Saturday.

"I always think you have a pretty good idea of where the league's going at the halfway stage, so in a couple of weeks it should be clearer whether we're challenging or not," Simpson added.

Brondesbury are also at home on Sunday, when they face Surrey League champions Reigate Priory in the third round of the Evening Standard Trophy (1pm start).


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