Hughes hails North Middlesex's spirit after wins over Highgate and Brondesbury
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 July 2018
The Middlesex County League Premier Division club secured two narrow victories over last weekend
Joel Hughes praised North Middlesex’s character after they triumphed in two close games last weekend.
The Park Road club edged out local rivals Highgate in the Middlesex County League Premier Division on Saturday by seven runs.
A day later, in the semi-finals of the knock-out cup, North Middlesex were able to defend a score of 271-9 to progress past Brondesbury into the final.
Captain Hughes said: “We have had to work hard for our wins this season and this weekend was no exception.
“We showed a lot of character in both of the games because we could have lost them, but we stuck at it and didn’t give up.”
Tom Nicoll showed his class in the two victories as he top scored on Saturday with 93 off 76 balls – an innings which included seven sixes.
Will Nicoll (40), Evan Flowers (48) and James Parslow (67) also made contributions as North Middlesex posted 287-7.
In reply, Highgate got close to their target following 56 from overseas opener Shane McNamara and 78 by Hasnain Ali.
North Middlesex held their nerve, however, with Liam O’Driscoll taking 4-37 and skipper Hughes involved in the crucial run-out during the 68th over which saw the visitors dismissed for 280.
On Sunday at Brondesbury, Tom Nicoll was at it again, scoring a fifth consecutive fifty and putting on a decent partnership with Parslow, who also claimed a half century.
Hughes said: “It was another close game. We scored 271-9, but it did look like we would score a lot more at one stage.
“Tom top scored again and got 60-odd and James Parslow hit a fifty and they put on a big partnership, but we lost both of them quickly and collapsed to 213-8.
“It was at this stage me and Max (Harris) had a whack and we managed to put on 58 for the last couple of wickets which proved crucial in the end.
“Brondesbury were going well all the way through their chase, but were scoring at around four to five an over so always just below the rate.
“I think they need around 140 or 150 with 20 overs to go and lost wickets at crucial times and then needed 25 off the last two overs.
“They got 17 or 18 so we managed to win narrowly, but it was probably a little bit more comfortable than the score suggests.”
What can’t be debated is the current consistency of all-rounder Tom Nicoll, who has scored over 350 runs in his last five knocks.
“Tom is in ridiculous form and is an unbelievable player,” said Hughes. “He has made a slight adjustment to his technique this year and it is really showing. When he hits the ball, he hits it so cleanly. He’s a class act.”