Club Cricket Conference

Tuesday, 30th November 2021

Sinking feeling for Vanderspar as minus-points Eastcote flounder

By Charles Randall

31 July 2013

The Middlesex 2nd XI batsman Will Vanderspar probably had mixed feelings at the end of the 2012 Middlesex League season when he left relegated Brondesbury and joined Eastcote to stay with top division cricket, but after working wonders for the Bradford-Leeds MCC Universities side he faced a high summer of toil in London.

With the league season well over half way, Eastcote remained rooted to the foot of the table still with minus points after a close-season disciplinary deduction of 20 points, the equivalent of two victories.

Hampstead, strengthened by the former Middlesex wicketkeeper Ben Scott, and Ealing led the title race well ahead of the pack at the start of the final month.

Vandespar, 21, played a major part in Bradford-Leeds's maiden British Universities title with an upset five-wicket win over Loughborough, one of the long-term dominant forces. The 50-overs final at Wormsley was hard-fought, and Loughborough did well to reach 201 all out after a fine opening spell for Bradford from James Lee (3-27). Bradford timed their chase well, with Chris Wakefield (60) and Vanderspar (64) putting on 74 for the third wicket, and victory was secured with two overs to spare. Toby Lester (3-42) was the most successful Loughborough bowler.

At Eastcote, despite the presence of the Middlesex professionals Adam Rossington, Ravi Patel and Gurjit Sandhu, the season started disastrously and did not improve much. The league disciplinary panel docked them 10 points for turning up for their final 2012 match at Winchmore Hill with nine men apparently to guarantee strength in lower teams, despite a circular warning from the league, and it followed a 10-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player in an earlier match.

Most of the clubs in the division were bunched just above the two-club relegation line. Stanmore, inspired occasionally by Mark Ramprakash and more often by the teenage sensation Steve Eskinazi, leapt up the table, with Easkinazi hitting 142 not out in a nine-wicket win against Finchley on The Common.

In Division Two it became clear that one of the most likely clubs to win promotion would be North Middlesex and Brondesbury, raising the question whether Vanderspar might have to move again.