Howzat: Ford Cricket Club captain Ali Raja driven to succeed in 2016
PUBLISHED: 11:00 30 April 2016
Ford will only have one team this year, but hope to enjoy success in the league and cup
Ford won the Premier Division title on a thrilling last day of the 2015 season – but now find themselves in the division below.
Any club competing in the top flight must have two teams, but Ford have lost numerous players and can now only field one side.
Ali Raja, chairman and second-team captain last year, will lead the club for the coming campaign and hopes to get them back into the top flight straight away.
The seconds finished fourth in Division One in 2015 and Raja is looking forward to the coming season, saying: “We had a really good indoor campaign in the winter and reached the final and lost to the better team on the day.
“It was still a good achievement, though, considering it was a long competition and all the players are looking forward to the season. Our main aim will be to gain promotion to the Premier.”
Raja’s team won 11 of their 18 matches in Division One, while the first XI won the title after pipping Newham on the last day.
But with only one Ford team now in action, the focus for this campaign will be to keep up the winning habit, despite being unable to defend their Premier crown.
Raja’s men do not lack talent, with the second string also reaching the League Cup final last year. He added: “Last season we finished fourth, but reached the League Cup final and lost to one of the top teams in the league.
“It was a good experience for our players, we beat some great sides on the way to reaching the final and out of 40 teams, we finished as runners-up.”
After such success in 2015, Raja hopes the club can look to cause more surprises in the cups.
They will be in the T20 and Pro40 events and aim to reach another final as well as secure promotion.
“This year our aim is to finish in the top two of our division and have a good run in one of the cup competitions,” added Raja.
Ford will hope Muhammad Nadeem can lead from the front again after a stunning 2015.
Nadeem scored 1,293 runs in all competitions for the firsts and will look to continue that form at the lower level this season.
Raja added: “The player to watch will be our opening batsman Muhammad. Last year he scored over 1,200 runs in only half a season and then had to go away for personal reasons, but he is back now.
“Also Nomaan Shah, a fast bowler, who joined us last season and took 38 wickets in only a handful of games, including a superb hat-trick. He is only 24 and can only get better, so he is definitely another one to keep an eye on.”
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