Ford push themselves to Essex County League Premier Division with a title win thanks to Tennyson success
PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 September 2016
An 11 run victory ensured Ford beat Barking’s second XI to the title and Ali Raja has praised the hard work of his team
Ford only needed eight points on Saturday to seal the Essex County League Division One title, but managed to edge out Tennyson in a thriller to finish in style.
Ali Raja’s men were top of the table heading into the weekend clash at home and managed to score 220-9 – picking up five points in the process.
They only needed three bowling points to secure promotion, but dismissed the visitors for 209 in the 41st over to clinch the title.
“I was confident throughout the season that we would win the league, we just needed to go on a good run,” said Raja.
“Thankfully we did it at the back end of the campaign and I’m delighted we’ve won the title.
“It was a very close game on Saturday, but a good one, and we were only about 15 runs short of what we wanted after batting first.
“We were aware that we only needed eight points to win the match so we made sure we hit 200 to get five batting points and then wanted six wickets when we were bowling.”
Ford were indebted to opener Amir Riaz on Saturday as he smashed 74, with only Adeel Mirza (15) and Imran Adil (18) managing to reach double figures out of the top six.
It was left to vice-captain Khurram Shazad to get his team to a decent total as he scored 33 and received fine support from Aurfan Javid (17) and Yousef Khan (18).
“We were struggling after Amir got out, but a really good quickfire 33 from our vice-skipper Khurram helped us get that magic number of 200 on the board,” added Raja.
Khalid Hussain (3-32) and Zain Mughal (3-50) did the bulk of the damage with the ball for Ford as, despite an unbeaten 70 from Tennyson’s Arun Mathiyazhagan, Raja’s men won by 11 runs.
He added: “We made sure we got the six wickets we needed courtesy of a wonderful opening spell by Zain and then Khalid, a new addition, put the icing on the cake with a magical spell towards the end.”
Ford sealed promotion and the title and should be able to play in the Premier League next season as long as they can raise a second XI.
“I would like to congratulate Imran Rafiq, the skipper, who is away on holiday, the current captain Khurram Cheema and also vice Khurram Shazad for their hard work throughout the season that paid off,” said Raja. “I would also like to thank the Ilford Recorder for their wonderful coverage of our season!”
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