Middlesex Premier Cricket League DIVISION ONE: Ealing 87-4 (10pts) beat Eastcote 86 (0pts) by six wickets
REIGNING champions Ealing swept aside Eastcote to strengthen their claim to retaining the league title while simultaneously leaving the Southill Lane club in relegation trouble.
A woefully under-prepared Ealing pitch, coupled with an 11am start, meant that winning the toss would be crucial because bowling first on a very green wicket would be a terrific advantage.
Unfortunately for Eastcote their poor form with the coin continued and they were forced to bat on an extremely variable surface. As the ball popped off the pitch they lost Tom Scollay for a duck in the first over and then Ed Stolle, also without scoring in the second.
The Eastcote batsmen never looked comfortable against the lively pace of Jackson Bird (4-36) and Tahir Afridi (6-23) and wickets tumbled.
Rallying efforts by David Goodchild (23) and Mahrouf Chowdhury (14) proved short-lived and with only Chris Coleman (13) and Mark Collier (10) joining them in making double figures the visitors were all out soon after lunch for a meagre 86.
Ealing's pitch preparation was almost their undoing as they faced Eastcote seamers Paul Metcalfe and Collier as the ball continued to move alarmingly.
Metcalfe bowled Ravi Patel (0) in the first over and when he was followed by David Holt (6) to a fine catch at third man by James Corbett, Ned Eckersley (1) and Simon Hawk (26), the hosts were suddenly in real difficulty at 44 for four.
Chris Peploe survived a near miss early in his innings but with captain Luke Stoughton they stopped the Ealing rot and Middlesex player Peploe played some great shots as the surface settled down, breaking Eastcote hearts as he powered to an unbeaten 32, capably supported by Stoughton (19 not out).
Ealing got home by six wickets in only the 27th over and they remain on course for a clean sweep this year, with all their teams leading their respective divisions.
Eastcote remain nine points clear of the drop zone with two games to go and Saturday's visit of third-placed Finchley could be crucial.
DIVISION THREE: Bessborough 124-8 (10pts) beat Uxbridge 123 (0pts) by two wickets
UXBRIDGE'S promotion drive suffered a bit of a jolt as they crashed to a narrow defeat in a low scoring game at relegation strugglers Bessborough.
Bessborough began the game only three points off the bottom but they were half way to victory when they dismissed Uxbridge for just 123 after putting them into bat, with Gary Linton doing most of the damage with five for 24.
Uxbridge and Raj Singh in particular made Bessborough fight all the way, Singh claiming five for 35, but Ashish Mehta stood head and shoulders above the rest as he hit 61 to see his side home by two wickets. [25a0] The third team moved a step closer to promotion with a 45-run victory over Wycombe House as they remained unbeaten for the season.
Despite losing the toss and being put into bat, Uxbridge wasted no time in setting Wycombe a target as they reached 100 in only 12 overs thanks to some aggressive batting from Tony Reely and Simrit Mangat.
Reely departed for 69 but Mangat remained to add 41 to the unbeaten 140 he made for the fourth team the previous week, before departing after Bryan Winson (15) maintained the scoring as Uxbridge raced to 150 from 22 overs. Skipper Rob Darvill (52) and Tyrone Porter (28) took the total past 200 and with contributions from all the batsman down the order, Uxbridge declared on 283 for seven from 45 overs. With 55 overs to reach the target, Wycombe came out in a mood to win the game and made a quick start until a change of pace got the breakthrough Uxbridge craved.
Mangat took the catch behind off Reely, who went on to be the match winner as he bowled throughout the rest of the innings.
Wycombe edged closer to the target with some big hitting from the middle order but Reely continued to apply pressure and Uxbridge took the chances when they arrived.
Reely ended with seven for 68 from 20 overs and with support from Osama Alam (2-46) Uxbridge whittled away and bowled out the visitors for 238 with five overs remaining.
The result left Uxbridge in second place, 16 points clear of third-placed Acton and victory at Brentham on Saturday will secure promotion.
DIVISION THREE: Barnet Bs 161-7 (10pts) beat Ickenham 157-9dec (0pts) by three wickets
ICKENHAM failed to banish the spectre of relegation when they went down by three wickets away to fellow strugglers Barnet Bs, whose victory took them two points above the visitors from Oak Avenue.
The away side scraped their way to 157 for nine from 56 overs after being put into bat and Varinder Khera was unbeaten on 58 when Barnet reached their target.