SOUTHALL'S Middlesex Championship title aspirations were given a severe jolt by local rivals Indian Gymkhana, who sent them crashing to a 128-run defeat.
Southall must have thought they were going to get the better of the home side, who struggled early on in a rain-delayed game played in damp, overcast conditions.
They had their opponents on 67-6, with opening bowlers Younis Hakimi (3-41) and Saeed Ahmed (3-50) taking the challenge to the top-order batsmen.
But Gymkhana's overseas player, Subash Chaudhary, had other plans as he forged several useful partnerships and constructed a patient but determined knock of 105 not out. His shot selection was immaculate and his chanceless innings helped carry Gymkhana to 197 all out in 53 overs.
Southall's inability to form a single partnership of note caused them to capitulate. Gymkhana's slower bowlers exerted pressure throughout and the home team wrapped up a comfortable victory, leaving Southall 69 all out. [25a0] Southall play Turnham Green in Chiswick this weekend.
ACTONheld on by the skin of their teeth in last weekend's match at Uxbridge in the Middlesex County League - but only took a point after closing on 89-9 in reply to the home side's score of 200.
It continues the good, gritty habits of the previous two seasons, which has seen only five defeats in two summers. But it leaves them in sixth place and a little adrift of the promotion places in Division Two.
The second XI lost their 100 per cent record in Division Two but picked up four points from their draw with Brentham, which keeps them at the top of the table. They have 44 points, 10 more than neighbours Shepherd's Bush.
There was no joy for the third team in their local clash with the Bush in a low-scoring match.
They were skittled out for 68 when they only needed 87 to win.
Magnificent figures of 8-15 for Wajid Sabir would surely have been enough to win a match on any other day.
It was nevertheless a day to remember for the left-arm medium pacer, who normally only turns out for the fourth XI. They were easily his best-ever figures.
SHEPHERD'S BUSH CC
THE baptism of fire that's burned Bush batsmen since they joined the big-boys league got ever hotter on Saturday.
Not since the opening fixture has the newly-promoted side got beyond 150 - and they were indebted to a stonewall match-saver from Sam Dishon to survive this game.
His 37 not out, along with De la Rey Terreblanche's 44, which included six fours and a six, was the dab of glue that held the innings together after no one but Will Speer got to double figures.
Captain Ed Reynolds must have feared the worst when Bush slumped to 13-4, but then Sam got the club act together, with Speer's cameo of 28 warding off defeat.
Earlier, Amit Suman trapped Steve Ball with the Richmond innings on one - but a 144 second-wicket partnership between Steve Price (92) and Kevin Barrett (73) made the Bush task uphill from there on.