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Club class enjoy Essex clash

The Essex Premier League XI  face the camera after their T20 clash with Essex Eagles at the County Ground (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) The Essex Premier League XI face the camera after their T20 clash with Essex Eagles at the County Ground (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Friday, May 16, 2014
7:39 AM

League XI impress in T20 outing

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Essex and England captain Alastair Cook hits out on his way to a half-century in the T20 clash with an Essex Premier League XI (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Essex and England captain Alastair Cook hits out on his way to a half-century in the T20 clash with an Essex Premier League XI (pic; Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Local club cricketers impressed on the big stage as an Essex Premier Leagues XI took on Alastair Cook’s Essex Eagles in a T20 clash last night.

Ilford’s Aron Nijjar and fellow slow left-armer Joe Ellis-Grewal of Wanstead bowled good four-over spells and picked up wickets as the county professionals batted first.

Cook put on 95 for the first wicket with Mark Pettini, who fell four runs short of a half-century as Harold Wood’s Hamza Ikram held on to a fine diving catch to give Nijjar his reward.

And the England skipper, celebrating his benefit year this summer, went on to reach 60 off 45 balls after hitting two sixes and three fours before he was bowled by Ellis-Grewal.

The Wanstead youngster held onto a catch at long on to send Ravi Bopara packing – having spilled a chance over the rope earlier in the Eagles innings – and Hornchurch youngster Billy Gordon dismissed James Foster as Nijjar showed a safe pair of hands.

South Woodford’s Harry Shirt got in on the act to claim Greg Smith’s scalp and leave the hosts 159-5 in the penultimate over, but Ben Foakes scored 31 off the last eight balls from Shirt and Gordon, including four big sixes, to leave the visitors – managed by Wanstead’s Arfan Akram – with a mountain to climb.

Captain Aaron West, of Brentwood, tried to attack in reply, hitting a six off Reece Topley as well as three fours in his 33 in a 56-run opening stand with Tom Phillippe, of Shenfield.

But Jack Sterland fell first ball to Smith before Phillippe and Gordon shared 32, only for Bopara to strike with successive balls to make it 88-4.

Alfie Taylor lasted three balls before Phillippe had his stump knocked out of the ground by Matt Salisbury, two runs short of a fifty.

And although Joe Barrs struck two fours down the ground in an unbroken 28-run partnership with Ikram – who was loudly cheered by his clubmates from the stands – in the closing overs, there was no denying Essex a comfortable 66-run victory.

Essex 190-5: Cook 60, Pettini 46, Bopara 21, Foakes 47*, Foster 5, Smith 1, Westley 0*, extras 10. Bowling: Ellis-Grewal 4-0-26-1, Barrs 2-0-28-0, Butt 2-0-26-0, Nijjar 4-0-23-1, Shirt 4-0-30-1, Gordon 4-0-53-1.

Essex Premier League XI 124-6: West 33, Phillippe 48, Sterland 0, Gordon 8, Butt 0, Taylor 1, Ikram 7*, Barrs 16*, extras 11. Bowling: Newby 4-0-21-0, Westley 2-0-13-0, Salisbury 2-0-12-1, Topley 4-0-35-1, Smith 4-0-22-1, Bopara 4-0-18-3.

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