Bessborough extended their unbeaten start and lead at the top of the Middlesex Championship on Saturday with a winning draw at home to Old Actonians.

Captain Rohan Karkhanis won the toss put the visitors in to bat with cloudy overhead conditions and was rewarded for his decision early in the innings when Neal Patel (four for 56) removed Old Actonians’ Scott Ensom (ten) in the third over, caught behind by wicket-keeper Jigar Shah.

When rain stopped play after two hours Bessborough had reduced their opponents to 125 for five, but it could have been so much better for the home side after dropping seven fairly routine chances.

After the resumption Old Actonians made the most of their reprieves lead by number six Alistair Slaughter (92) who helped his side set a difficult target of 217 from the remaining 33 overs.

Despite the early losses of Ramesh Gunalan (12) and Kushal Patel (one), Bessborough were close to the required run rate thanks to a breezy 79 third-wicket partnership between Ishan Shah (43) and Jigar Shah (63), but the chase effectively ended with six overs to go with Bessborough needing over ten runs per over and only three wickets left.

In the end, Bessborough closed on 163 for eight and a faster rate to secure four points for a winning draw. The result extended Bessborough’s lead at the top of the Middlesex Championship to five points as closest rivals Birkbeck College lost to Wycombe House.

Fielding one of their strongest batting line-ups in recent memory, Bessborough Seconds failed to deliver as they succumbed to a five-wicket loss away to Wembley.

Captain and opener Phil Bush led from the front with 77, but apart from Sanil Shah (58) - with whom Bush put on 110 for the third wicket – none of the other batsmen could muster a significant contribution as the side was dismissed for a well below par 198 from 46 overs.

In reply, Wembley coasted to victory in 37 overs as all bar one of their seven batsmen chipped in. Young spinner Kibreeth Rameez was the stand out bowler for Bessborough with three for 43 from his 13 overs.

The defeat drops the Seconds to sixth in Middlesex County Cricket League Division Three, 24 points behind leaders Osterley but only six points behind Enfield in second spot.

The Thirds' miserable winless streak continued with a five-wicket defeat away to Old Actonians. In a rain-affected match, Bessborough declared on 206 for seven after 47 overs. Top run getters for Bessborough were Dillon Maloney (51) with this second half century of the league campaign, 31 not out from his dad Julio Maloney and an excellent late order 35 from under 13s captain Jamie Young.

Not for the first time this season, Bessborough’s bowling attack lacked the zip to hurry the opposition who claimed the win after 41 overs having lost only five wickets. Skipper Nathan Theebaraj was Bessborough’s most successful bowler with two for 38.

In another weather-restricted game, Bessborough Fourths beat top of the table S.K.L.P. to keep alive their own promotion hopes in the Middlesex 1987 League Division Five.

Bessborough skipper Sahil Hathi won the toss and put the opposition in to bat. After some early big hitting from S.K.L.P., the home side were able to apply pressure through the tight bowling of Majid Abbasi (three for 27) and Ian Ridley (two for 22), both players making their first league starts of the season for the club.

On 80 for five when rain interrupted proceedings, S.K.L.P. upped the scoring after resumption and made the bold decision to declare after 39 overs on 161 for six, leaving Bessborough 38 overs at around 4.3 runs per over for the win.

Solid contributions from openers Simon Heaney (25) and Praekash Balendra (11) set a platform, but it was the big hitting Eddie Idrees (31) and William Gill (38 not out), supported by Richard Ward’s 24 that helped the side over the line with six overs remaining.