Ilford captain Jacobs insists short season was beneficial to his young improving side

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 September 2020

Ilford captain Nigel Jacobs in action against South Woodford (Pic: Graham Hodges)

Ilford captain Nigel Jacobs in action against South Woodford (Pic: Graham Hodges)


Ilford captain Nigel Jacobs believes the shortened season has been really beneficial to his side as they worked on weaknesses and found more consistency.

The Valentines Park outfit finished fourth in the Shepherd Neame Essex League Tier One Hussain Division after five wins, two defeats and two matches being abandoned.

They capped a strong season with a one-run victory over Woodford Green on the final day after they were bowled out for 229 with Mohammad Ahktar (90) and Akhil Anil (40) top scoring.

Ilford then restricted their local rivals to 228-8 with Harris Ayub (4-51) putting in a superb effort.

“It was a bit closer than we would’ve liked, but last year we used to play a lot of good cricket and at the end of the game think ‘how did we lose that game?’, whereas on Saturday we made a lot of mistakes and still ended up winning,” Jacobs said.

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“I think it was actually quite a good thing for us. I said a few weeks ago it’s about learning how to win, and we feel we’ve been able to do that. The season as a whole has been really beneficial.

“I think having the short season and it not being an official league has helped us because we’ve been able to chop and change the team, and give younger players a chance.

“We know what we need to work on for next year.”

The skipper was quick to praise the likes of Akash Raji, Akhtar, Anil and Prahathen Jayarooban, adding: “Performance-wise, our two stands-out have been Akash Raji and Mohammad Ahktar. Akash with the bat was second in the league with runs scored and he was so consistent.

“With Akash, Akhil and myself in the top three now I’m feeling super confident for next year and Mo Ahktar has been doing it for a while now, he’s been super responsible with the bat and with the ball he’s been super threatening.

“Prahathen is only 18, it’s his first proper season playing for the first-team, but he has been brilliant and has learnt a lot.

“We weren’t too fussed with where we finished, it was more about performances and improving. We’ve learnt, in all honestly I’m glad we’ve made mistakes and not won every game instead of winning every game, winning the league and not really improving for next year.”

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