MIDDLESEX COUNTY CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION THREE
Wycombe House seconds 221-6
Bessborough seconds 192-7
Winning draw for Bessborough
BESSBOROUGH’S relegation threatened second team live to fight for their Middlesex County Cricket League Division Three lives for another week.
Alex Irani and Phil Bush put on a gutsy later-order partnership to help claim a winning draw against Wycombe House on Saturday and see the seconds take the fight to the final weekend.
Skipper Bush won the toss and elected to chase knowing that anything less than a win would take Bessborough’s destiny out of their own hands and at worst could send them down.
Pace bowler Akshay Hirani (2-44) made the perfect start by claiming a Wycombe House opener for a duck.
Unfortunately for Bessborough, that wicket was not the start of a collapse as Wycombe dug in on a good surface.
Desai in particular bowled well, picking up 2-16 with an exceptional economy rate of 1.23 from his 13 overs as House declared on 221-6 after 54.1 overs.
Having only once got above 200 this season, Bessborough knew they had to take some risks and their reply got off to a flyer with opener Adil Parker hitting a flurry of early boundaries.
However, Parker’s attacking intent backfired as when attempting to pull a ball off one of the opening bowlers he missed the ball which somehow got through the defence of his helmet’s grill and forced him to A&E.
That incident seemed to shake the confidence of the rest of the Bessborough line-up as the side slumped to 80-6 with four ducks.
It was at that stage that Bush joined Alex Irani in the middle, the latter having entrenched himself at the crease in the style that made him the club’s player of the month for July.
They put on a a sterling 89-run partnership to get the side to within 50 runs of victory.
With about nine runs per over required in the final five overs, Bush attempted one blow too many and was caught in the covers for 46.
With Parker’s absence the side was effectively down to its last two wickets so Alex Irani (59 not out) and Mitesh Vyas (3 not out) reined in their strokes to pick up the four points from the winning draw.
Bessborough will need at least a winning draw in their final match away to sixth-placed South Hampstead to stay up and hope that Edmonton do not pick up more than a point away to seventh-placed North London.
Subject to a possible appeal, the thirds need a win from their final game this week at home to title winners MTSSC to ensure survival after they lost away to Indian Gymkhana.
The fourths blew their chances of promotion with an abject fielding display against Turnham Green and Polytechnic.
Bessborough’s Sunday team was relegated from the Chess Valley Division Three after losing by nine wickets at home to league winners Amersham.
The first team’s Middlesex Championship Division One season is ending on a flat note as they surrendered meekly away at Old Actonians.
MTSSC sit second in that table following their narrow victory over Old Lyonians on Saturday.