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Ilford hold nerve in last-day drama

PUBLISHED: 15:53 16 September 2010

Maz Malik

Maz Malik

Archant

Ilford 250 beat Colchester & East Essex 121 by 129 runs.

Ilford 250 beat Colchester & East Essex 121 by 129 runs.

ILFORD secured their Premier Division status with an excellent win against Colchester and East Essex on Saturday.

Knowing only a win would do, Ilford crushed their Essex rivals by 129 runs at Valentines Park.

Captain Maz Malik felt his side batted brilliantly, as Ilford stayed up on the final day at the expense of Upminster.

“I’m absolutely delighted that we stayed up,” said the skipper.

“It was possibly our best performance of the season, we saved it for when it really mattered, but I would have liked to see us play that well more often.

“All credit to the guys. We batted really well, Adeel Malik particularly who got a century.

“The key was we got on top of them early and continued to bat well throughout the innings.

“I was really happy with our total and knew it would be difficult for them to win the game.”

Adeel Malik followed up his wonderful 111, which featured two sixes, with a strong performance with the ball.

He was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 3-27, as the visitors were bowled out in 30 overs.

The Ilford skipper admitted that despite seeing his side cruise to victory, there was still the matter of an anxious phone call to make before they could celebrate.

“We got a couple of early wickets and from there we stayed professional and got the job done,” he said.

“We still had to make a nervous phone call at the end to find out the Upminster result to confirm we had stayed up and it was a great feeling when we knew we had done it.

“All credit to Upminster, it sounded as if they had a really tight game and they pushed us all the way this season.”

With top-flight status confirmed, thoughts have already turned to next season, with the Ilford captain confident his side can fair better next year.

“Next season we need to be a little more professional in some of the things we do and not make so many silly mistakes.

“All the younger guys will be a year older and a year more experienced which will help us.

“I want to keep the team together as much as we possibly can, because otherwise we will undo the hard work we have done this season.

“At the moment I am just delighted that we managed to stay up. I’m already looking forward to next year, positive that we can have a stronger season,” said Malik.

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