May 25 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Shepherd Neame Essex Premier Division: Wanstead & Snaresbrook 278-5 beat Colchester & East Essex 274-8 by four runs
Wanstead captain Arfan Akram insists his men won’t be taking Ilford lightly on Saturday as they look to be crowned Shepherd Neame Essex Premier Division champions.
The narrow four-run victory over Colchester & East Essex leaves Wanstead 16 points ahead of title rivals Chelmsford with just one game to play.
They need just five bonus points to wrap things up, but will be going all out to win at home to Ilford – knowing it won’t be an easy encounter.
Akram said: “The objective is simple – to try to win the match and take the full 20 points. It’s very dangerous to just look for the minimum target.
“We won’t be underestimating the opposition because Ilford have nothing to lose.
“We’ve got to be professional, disciplined and stick to the game-plan – that’s the key for us if we want to succeed.”
With Chelmsford winning their match against Woodford Wells, it was vital that Wanstead came out on top against Colchester – but it was a close-run thing.
John Chambers scored 84 and Akram (54) claimed a half-century as Wanstead made 278-5 from their 50 overs.
In reply, Colchester proved stubborn opposition with Ben Foakes scoring 123 before being caught by Petrus Hattingh.
But Wanstead, with Maurice Chambers taking three wickets, just managed to squeeze over the line.
Akram said: “It was too close for comfort, to the extent that I’m not sure if we won the game or if Colchester lost it.
“From the last 20 overs Colchester needed 100 runs with nine wickets to spare on a flat track. To say the odds were against us was an understatement. But full credit to our lads, who showed guts and determination and refused to give up.”
Akram, whose side also has the prestigious ECB National Club Championship final to look forward to later this month, refuses to tempt fate by thinking too far ahead.
But he admits that the league title would mean so much to the club, who were last crowned champions in 2008 and have since had to settle for the runners-up spot.
Akram said: “In past years we’ve been chasing and hoping for the team above us to slip up, whereas this year it’s definitely in our own hands.
“Terry O’Connor, our club sponsor, passed away last year and it made us twice as determined to try and do the business this year.
“We know what it would mean to the club to win the championship, but we’re not allowing ourselves to look too far ahead because we’ve got to win our final game first.”