Wanstead captain wants to keep pushing at top of table

Joe Ellis-Grewal hit a quick half-century as Wanstead drew with Hadleigh

Joe Ellis-Grewal hit a quick half-century as Wanstead drew with Hadleigh - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Wanstead captain Joe Ellis-Grewal wants his side to keep pushing at the top of the Hamro Foundation Essex League Premier Division table.

The Herons have a 40-point lead at the midway point of the season, as they prepare to welcome Belhus to Overton Drive on Saturday.

And the skipper is hoping to get back to winning ways after being held to successive draws by Chingford and Hadleigh.

"We're playing good cricket, we're still unbeaten and we will look to do the same," he said.

"Belhus are a very hit and miss team. They've got some good players and I'm surprised they're not doing better.

"They typically play well against us and we know we will have to do well.

"We've not got the 25 points the past two weeks and every game is a big one for us. Hopefully we can produce another decent performance."

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Ellis-Grewal chose to bat after winning the toss last weekend and saw young Zoraiz Saeed (52) and Hassan Chowdhury (76) put on 121 for the first wicket at close to a run a ball.

And a quickfire unbroken 100-run stand between Adnan Akram (62 off 56) and Ellis-Grewal (54 off 25) saw them close on 326-6 from 52 overs.

Ellis-Grewal added: "It was a brilliant opening by Zoraiz and Hassan to set the game up and after we had a bit of a wobble, Adnan and I batted well to declare and get us as many overs as possible.

"It was another very good wicket at Wanstead and we did really well to make a game of it.

"We got them nine down and had three overs at the last pair to try and get the 25 points."

Zain Shahzad and Kishen Velani (2-45) reduced Hadleigh to 54-3, with Ellis-Grewal (3-73) striking twice in quick succession to leave them 111-5.

But Wanstead's hopes were held up by a 131-run stand for the sixth wicket, before Jahansher Akbar (3-72) raised the possibility of a win late on.

"It didn't spin in the second innings, the odd one but not much, but Kish and Zain bowled well and I got two set batters in the same over," said Ellis-Grewal.

"I thought we had a chance but a couple of their guys batted really well, stayed positive and didn't shut up shop.

"We kept the field up to keep them interested but it got to a point where I thought 'hold on a minute'.

"They kept going, but we chipped away to get them nine down, but didn't get balls in the right place at the end.

"We were slightly disappointed not to get 25 points but we got 15 and other results went our way."

Wanstead met Sandwich Town in the Conference Cup on Sunday, in a dress rehearsal for this weekend's last-16 tie in the ECB National Club Championship.

Ellis-Grewal (3-37) and Akbar (2-50) got among the wickets again as the visitors were dismissed for 232, but Nabeel Aziz (88 not out) and Haaris Usman (33) were the only batters to make an impact as they lost by 52 runs.

"I don't like losing any games but we struggled for availability on Sunday, with only four or five regulars," said Ellis-Grewal.

"They had a full side, so we got a look at them and we did well to restrict them. We lost too many in the powerplay which made it a struggle. 

"We were 17-3 so to come up only 50 short, if a couple of things had gone our way, we might've had a chance.

"We're looking forward to the National game on Sunday at their place and hope we can get into the last eight."