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Akram ponders future potential

PUBLISHED: 16:05 16 September 2010

Merv Westfield

Merv Westfield

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SNEL Premier Division

SNEL Premier Division

Wanstead 221-7 beat

Chelmsford 144 by 77 runs.

Wanstead comfortably defeated Chelmsford in a second-place shoot-out at Overton Drive on Saturday, but skipper Arfan Akram insists the side will settle for nothing less than top spot next season.

Home opener John Chambers’ knock of 102 spearheaded his side’s charge with the bat, before teenage spinner Joe Ellis-Grewal took 5-20 to seal victory and confirm runners-up spot in the Premier Division.

Having already won the prestigious Conference Cup and Essex League Cup this season, Akram praised his players for their overall efforts while lamenting missing out on a famous treble.

“I’m happy in the sense that, with two or three games to go, the target was to finish second and we did that,” said the skipper.

“As much as it’s been an amazing season to win two trophies and and have our under-15’s win a national competition, I still think we could have gone further in the league. There’s an element of disappointment, but mostly happiness with how we finished in the last three games.”

Akram added: “Without a doubt I think we had enough talent to win the division.

“Maybe at times we were not ruthless enough, such as when we have sides eight down and are chasing the final two wickets, but that is something we will work on.

“In general it’s just about capitalising on opponents’ weaknesses. But we’ve only lost three games in the league and five out of 35 overall, so there is a lot of strength and a lot of talent at the club.”

Wanstead were grateful to Zain Shahzad for getting the batting total over 200, as he blasted 33 from 16 balls at the end of the innings, but Chambers’ century stole the plaudits.

“He’s got a lot going on in his life at the moment, but, and I’ve said this before, I think he is one of the best club cricketers around,” said Akram.

“He’s a fantastic cricketer, a fantastic character and just a winner in general. It wasn’t easy to bat out there on Saturday, but he put a price on his wicket and scored runs.”

Wanstead took wickets regularly in reply as only Nicholas Bailey (97 not out) offered any resistance with the bat.

“We started well with an early wicket, but after 20 overs they had around 80 on the board and it was in the balance,” said Akram.

“It was a weird day as Joe Ellis-Grewal took five wickets, but there will be times when he bowls a lot better than that and gets none.

“There were times when the batsman picked out the only man on the boundary, there were a couple of bad shots and a couple of people bowled.

“However I’m a big fan of saying you make your own luck and he a young man, at 18 years old, who has worked very hard at his game.”

Wanstead’s annual end-of-season presentation evening followed the game with Merv Westfield being named Player of the Year for scoring more than 1,000 runs in all competitions and taking 49 wickets.

Mohammed Fayyaz Khan was announced as Bowler of the Year for taking 54 wickets at an average of less than 18 runs, while Chambers took the batting trophy home after scoring more than 800 league runs.

While the first team are now finished for the summer, the Herons’ under-16 side vie for the inaugural Match Play trophy at Essex’s County Ground.

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