Richmond's competitive season ended on a high this weekend with the Under 21's - in fact a team all Under 20 or younger - regaining the Rakesh Sethi Trophy in glorious weather at Old Deer Park. This came the day after a very convincing win by the 1's at North London, thus securing their return to the Premier League of the MCCL.
Captain Eddie Bruce led from the front scoring an unbeaten 72 off 88 balls as the Under 21's chased down Stanmore's 178 all out for the loss of 4 wickets. There were good contributions from Nikhil Malik (34) and Josh Dudley (43 not out) who joined his captain with the score on 98. Earlier James Nelson led the way with the ball taking 3 for 29 off his 8 overs, including the wicket of highly rated young Middlesex batter, Aayan Sawant. There were 2 wickets for Will Knowles and Kartik Jain and one a piece for Sam Graham, Dru Shori and Vansh Jani.
Stanmore's side for the final, like Crouch End in 2022, featured two players over the age of 21. For the second season running, ours did not and it is to the youngsters' credit that they performed so well yet again under pressure. The win is hugely important for the future of the club as this group of talented youngsters continue to enjoy the sweet taste of success together.
Five of the Under 21's played a part in the promotion winning match against North London on Saturday. On a green pitch with some dampness, captain Adam London had no hesitation inserting the opposition and his bowlers did not let him down. Will Robertson and Kartik Jain bowled well with the new ball, with Kartik picking up the first two wicekts and Will beating the bat repeatedly. But it was the introduction of the veteran Kshitj Desai who ripped through the North London batting, taking 5 for 28 off 9 overs. Will came back to wrap up tail with 3 for 24 assisted by some excellent catching. Will Phillips also bowled very well going for just 17 off 7 overs. In reply Vansh Jani scored 28 and Jack Nelson 16. Vansh went with Richmond still needing 15 to win but by that stage the skipper was well set and he, in partnership with KD, saw us home. Promotion secured and whilst it would be nice to have done so as Champions, the primary objective for the season was to make an immediate return to the Premier League. In the last few weeks, injuries and absences have led to a very young side taking the field and they have not disappointed.
At Old Deer Park, the 2's having secured promotion as Champions a few weeks ago, won well against Barnes. Richmond batted first and scored 248 for 8 off 45 overs. Will Hunt with 62 and Ryan Quinn with 38 were the leading scorers. Barnes's chase began well but, slowly but surely, wickets fell. Olly Leedham (3/31), Arun Bhasin (2/27) and Jean Fourie (2/40) led the way backed up by somne good fielding as Barnes were bowled out for 189. The win means that the 2's finish the season on 131 points, 18 points clear of Brondesbury in second and 32 clear of Twickenham in third.
The 3's and 4's both lost tight matches against Barnes and Harrow Town 3's respectively. The 3's posted a score of 189 all out. Arun Velusway was top-scorer with 33. Barnes, already Champions, got across the line for the loss of 9 wickets. Kyle Seth (4/68) and Hamza Sajawal (3/49) were the most successful bowlers. The 4's lost by 2 wickets having scored 163. The 3's finish in 3rd place in the Third Tier's Premier Division, the 4's in 6th. The 4's are one of only two 4th XIs playing at this level.
The 5's meanwhile won by 9 wickets against Hampstead 5's and so complete the season as the highest ranked 5th XI in Middlesex.
All in all a good weekend which was celebrated in some style on Saturday night, which included a visit from the Maroske Clan from Brisbane. It was great to see Dan and M-T as well as welcome the next generation of Maroske's to Old Deer Park.