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Wanstead will not take new boys lightly

17:05 05 June 2014

Arfan Akram in batting action for Wanstead at Shenfield (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Arfan Akram in batting action for Wanstead at Shenfield (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Akram issues warning ahead of Harold Wood clash

Table-topping Wanstead will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the Essex League Premier Division season when they host top flight new boys Harold Wood on Saturday.

Defending champions Wanstead currently lead the way on 66 points having won three of their first four matches, with one abandoned, but Wood are only three points behind in third place after an impressive start of their own.

Wanstead captain Arfan Akram says his side will approach the games as they do every other, saying: “They are a new side who are doing relatively well, but I always say that regardless of the opposition, we need to go out there and just apply our skills.

“When we do that I think we are a match for any side in the country not just in the Essex League.”

Akram respects the start Harold Wood have made and is expecting to be able to pick from a full strength squad to take them on.

He added: “ We never take any opposition lightly and their place in the league table speaks volumes.

“We should be back to full strength and we will be looking to put our most talented team out there.”

Wanstead trumped Shenfield by 57 runs last Saturday, after Akram (61) and Essex and England youngster Kishen Velani (69) led with the bat in their total of 258.

Slow left-armer Joe Ellis-Grewal (6-39) turned to screw to wrap up victory, but a weakened side went down against Brentwood in the National Cup the following day.

Ellis-Grewal (3-23) was the pick of the bowling once again as Brentwood were dismissed for 146 in difficult batting conditions.

Mo Fayyaz Khan (2-13), Zain Shahzad (2-28) and Usman Sahar (2-43) nabbed braces, but Adnan Akram (35) was the only top order batsman to make much impact in reply.

Ellis-Grewal held firm late on, but was left unbeaten on 24 as Brentwood wrapped up a 10-run win.

Speaking of his side’s success at Shenfield captain Akram added: “It was a very good pitch and often good cricket gets played on those types of pitches.

“Kishen was exceptional and we bowled brilliantly, with them needing roughly 100 runs off the last 20 overs.

“Joe was exceptional and the other bowlers did well to apply a lot of pressure at the other end and earlier in the innings.”

As for the cup exit, he said: “Sunday was disappointing and it just didn’t really go our way. It was a difficult track which never makes it easy and no one really got in.

“It’s one of those things we will learn from and come back stronger for. We had a weakened side which consisted of what I would call a lot of our squad players against a full strength Brentwood side, so to take them all the way like that was a mammoth effort.

“Most of the guys involved are all products of the junior club, so there is a lot pride and positives to be taken from that, even though it’s never nice to be out of a cup.”

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