Ilford warm up for league campaign with narrow win

Ilford captain Maz Malik was delighted with his side’s one-wicket win in their final pre-season match against Hutton on Saturday, setting them up perfectly for this weekend’s Premier Division curtain-raiser at Colchester and East Essex.

Home side Hutton, who won the toss and elected to bat, made an impressive start to the match, scoring a quick-fire 65.

But Ilford hit back and Nadeem Abbas, who finished with figures of 2-5 from seven overs, soon dismissed opening batsmen Nick Vanner and Hugh O’Dell to swing the match in the visitors’ favour.

Hutton were eventually bowled out for 147, losing their final four wickets for just five runs.

In reply, Ilford were struggling to reach their total and seemingly on the brink of defeat on 108-8, but 10th man Asad Abbas hit an unbeaten 20 to steer his side home.

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Malik felt the nature of his side’s win will give them confidence ahead of Saturday’s trip to Castle Park, where they will play Colchester & East Essex, the same opponents they beat on the final day of last season to successfully avoid relegation.

“It was a good game and good to get a win, it keeps us upbeat before the weekend,” said Malik.

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“We’ve got our furthest trip on the first weekend, so it’s good to get that out of the way, but they’re a strong team and we’re expecting a tough game.

“We’ve got a similar team to last year; the key this year is to be more consistent. Everyone needs to contribute.”

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