Ellis-Grewal full of praise for Wanstead’s inexperienced first-teamers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 July 2018

Bilal Patel scored 46 for Wanstead against Ilford on Saturday (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Bilal Patel scored 46 for Wanstead against Ilford on Saturday (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

The likes of Bilal Patel and Jahansher Akbar played their part in the Herons victory at Ilford on Saturday

Wanstead captain Joe Ellis-Grewal has been impressed with the contributions of some of the club’s less familiar faces in recent weeks.

A mixture of injuries and unavailability has seen the Herons without several members of the side which won the National Club Championship last year.

It has resulted in Wanstead lacking consistency at times this season, but on Saturday, a few fringe members of the first-team stepped up to help inspire an 85-run win at Ilford in the Essex League Premier Division.

Bilal Patel hit his best score (46) since coming up to the ones, while Jahansher Akbar, normally a second XI player, picked up 3-37 having snaffled 2-36 at Chingford on June 23.

Ellis-Grewal said: “It has been tough for us because two or three of our top players have been injured and a couple of people have moved away with work and we’ve been waiting for them to come back and then there is school cricket.

“A lot of the games this year we’ve only had four or five of our first-choice starting XI available.

“While that is disappointing, it is fantastic for some of the younger guys to get an opportunity in the first-team, especially after the season we had last year when we had a pretty similar XI most weeks.

“It is a learning curve for the people coming in, but it is fantastic to see people like Bilal and Adnan Akram (31) coming into form with the bat and Jahansher bowling well.

“Obviously it is nice to see them guys stepping up and taking their opportunities to help us win games.”

Patel wasn’t the only batsmen to impress at Valentines Park last weekend, as former Essex staffer Kishen Velani struck 72 at the top of the order.

It was only his second score of over fifty this season, after 106 at Billericay on May 19, and Ellis-Grewal praised his contribution.

The Herons skipper also backed number three Patel to kick on after also scoring 34 against Hornchurch on June 30.

“Our batting has been pretty disappointing of late and ‘Kish’ went out there and really led by example and batted well on a pitch which wasn’t that easy to bat on,” said Ellis-Grewal.

“And Bilal is starting to come into his own. He has had a few scores between 15 and 20 and a 30 and it was really nice to see him get his score.

“Hopefully he can kick on even more now and he was a bit unlucky because he got run out, but hopefully he can kick on and get a big score because he is turning into a really big player for us.”

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