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Oakfield Parks’ blog: Where has the season gone?

14:02 06 August 2014

Amit Kalley - Oakfield Parks

Amit Kalley - Oakfield Parks

Archant

It’s August and just four League games to play

Where has the cricket season gone?

It’s only the beginning of August, but for the Oakfield Parks’ teams in the Shepherd Neame Essex League the end of the season is already in view.

Multiple withdrawals from the league have left the club with no SNEL fixtures on Saturday, August 16, leaving all four of the club’s Essex League XIs with just four league games to play.

Form (and availability) in the firsts has been too erratic for a repeat of last season’s promotion push, and the team has been too reliant on the remarkable Jibran Azam for runs and wickets.

Jibran won the PiriPiri “Race to 500” as the first player to score 500 runs in the SNEL this summer, and now has almost 700 runs to his name, so far. Only one other batsman has more than 250. Jibran also tops the bowling list, alongside Paran Kalley, with 14 wickets. Surely time for some of the other players to come to the party?

Runaway leaders Harlow Town and Old Southendians look to have the promotion slots tied up in second XI Divison Three, but a top-our finish is still a realistic target for the seconds if they can chalk up wins against the teams below them in the league.

The third XI took 10 games to record their first league win of 2014, but have now embarked on a winning streak that has taken them to just 25 points short of a promotion place. With the top three teams still to play, there is still just an outside chance that Vijay might succeed in taking the thirds up this year, after several near misses with the fourths in previous seasons.

The fourths have been hit hard by irregular availabilities in the higher XIs, but still sit just 19 points behind the second promotion slot in fourth XI Division Three. All-round performances from Tariq Jameel (25 wickets - 323 runs) have been the stand-out, so far, but the team will need contributions from elsewhere if they are to finally escape from the basement division. Home-and-away fixtures with long-standing rivals Old Southendians will hold the key.

The Sunday XI sit mid-way in the Middlesex & Essex Invitation League, just 14 points off the lead, with four games still to play. New entrants Black Rose of Highgate hold first place, with a game in hand, but the competition looks likely to be decided only in the final weeks of the season, once again.

Still a lot to play for, in SNEL and MEIL, as the evenings start to draw in.

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