THE cricketing gods smiled on Bessborough on Saturday as results elsewhere ensured that both the second and third elevens escaped the relegation trap-door.
The 2s travelled to South Hampstead trailing second-bottom side Edmonton by three points, but there were few signs of any relegation fear as after being put in to bat they posted a season’s best of 289-7 declared.
Skipper Phil Bush and fellow opener Ishan Shah led from the front by getting after the wayward home attack to put on an opening stand of 109 before Bush was caught on 51.
Shah was dismissed shortly afterwards for 72 but the innings continued to accelerate as Hemmen Jutla (34) and Kushal Patel (65) plundered quick runs, while a rapid 19 from last week’s hero Alex Irani allowed for an early declaration at 45 overs.
A couple of early strikes from Ashil Shah got the visitors dreaming of the great escape but the home side had other ideas as a stoic third wicket stand frustrated the Borough. Eventually Vivek Patel broke the partnership and more carnage was soon to follow.
South Hampstead were derailed by losing three wickets in one Patel over, Eranda Jayasinghe claiming two fine catches at slip to atone for some earlier mishaps. The home side continued to fight and an 80 run last-wicket stand had Bessborough sweating that the opportunity may have been tossed away, but young spinner Mitesh Vyas ripped one through the gate to ensure victory was clinched by 44 runs.
Then came the agonising wait to see how Edmonton had fared. Fortunately, it seemed that their batsmen couldn’t handle the pressure as they fell 13 runs short of victory chasing North London’s low total of 153 all out, meaning that Bessborough leap-frogged them to safety in the Middlesex County Cricket League Division 3.
The third eleven were also the beneficiaries of a narrow result elsewhere as they claimed a creditable losing draw at home to M.T.S.S.C.
With both sides needing wins for different reasons - the Tamils side for the title following a 10-point penalty imposed earlier in the week and Bessborough to ensure safety – it was no surprise that the game was full of huge hitting.
M.T.S.S.C. posted a daunting 288-9 declared from 46 overs, but Bessborough responded with some daring shot of their own and a victory looked possible when they smashed 150 runs in about 10 overs. However, the prospect of winning faded when Sanjeev Gnanetheran was bowled for a brilliant 103 and Bessborough had to settle for a losing draw as they closed on 253-7.
That result opened the door for Twickenham 4s to demote Bessborough from the 1987 Middlesex Cricket League Division 1 if they could win at Old Actonians. Yet again, fortunes favoured the Headstone Manor club as Twickenham could only get a winning draw, falling a mere nine runs shy of the 176 needed for the win.
The first team finished their Middlesex Championship season with a comfortable home win against an already relegated and under-strength Turnham Green & Polytechnic.
Man-of-the-match was overseas player Alexander Haniff who spun his way to 8-61 as Turnham Green limped to 138 all out. Haniff’s stellar performance meant that he finished as the first team’s leading wicket taker in the league with 27 scalps, two more than his spin partner Rohan Karkhanis.
In reply, skipper Daniel Hawes (67) and Wayne Whitson (36) put on 87 for the first wicket as Bessborough strolled home on 141-3 after 24.5 overs.
The win means that the 1s ended the season in sixth place, 36 points behind title winners M.T.S.S.C.
The fourth eleven were dismantled by 1987 Middlesex Cricket League Division 5 champions Hampstead.
Bessborough were skittled for a measily 53 runs in 27 overs with only Simon Heaney (24) and William Gill (13) able to get into double figures.
It took just 6 overs for the Hampstead openers to pass the winning line although Steve Jarvis was dropped a couple of times on his way to a rapid 42.
The result meant that the 4s finished in sixth place in the league, safe from relegation due to a restructuring of the league for next season.