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Cricket: Hainault opener Irfan Shah wants to pile the pressure on Essex Division Two promotion rivals Fives & Heronians

PUBLISHED: 15:30 29 June 2017

Hainault opener Irfan Shah (pic: Mick Kearns/TGS Photo)

Hainault opener Irfan Shah (pic: Mick Kearns/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Hainault currently lead the way, but Fives are snapping at their heels

Opener Irfan Shah is keen for Hainault to put further distance between themselves and Saturday’s opponents Fives & Heronians in the race for promotion from Essex Division Two.

Heading into the weekend, Hainault are level on points with Hutton at the top of the table, but Fives are just 24 points back in fourth.

A victory for either side on Saturday would have a considerable effect on that gap, and Shah just hopes it is Hainault who come out smiling.

“All teams in this division are aiming for promotion. Fives are a big club in the area and after a few tough years, they’ll be hungry to get back to where they believe they belong,” he said.

“We will treat them with respect and hopefully we can execute our game plan well.

“With a leader like Zoheb Sharif, you are confident every time you step out onto the field.

“We have seven games left in the 50 over matches and we’ll see where we are by the end of it.

“Going on our current form, we feel we can be up there, but we know we will still have to work hard.”

Last weekend saw Hainault return to winning ways with a 167-run win against Old Southendian after racking up 388-5 with the bat.

The undoubted highlight of the innings was the superb second-wicket stand between Sharif, who made 155, and Mousshin Ismail, who scored 169.

Shah was able to watch the pair from the clubhouse after unfortunately going for a golden duck, but admits their stand was a joy to see.

“The pair of them put on around 260 and I was a bit gutted that I missed out myself!” added Shah.

“Zoheb and Mousshin are two quality players and it is was brilliant watching them do what they did.”

Victory over Old Southendian was a first win in three for Hainault, who had seen their promotion push hit the buffers in recent weeks.

But now they are back on the winning trail, Shah is confident Hainault are back to their best, though must remain wary of the opposition.

“It’s never easy and we know that every team in this league is capable of winning on their day,” he said.

“The two games before the Old Southendian match taught us that we cannot be below part if we want to win.”

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