Essex League Premier Division: ‘Perfect’ day in the end for Hornchurch and captain Roy Smith

PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 July 2017

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

First-team debutant Imraan Mannack caught the eye with 65 before Chamikara Mudalige showed his class with the ball

Last weekend turned out to be perfect for Hornchurch, but it wasn’t always the case for the Essex League Premier Division club.

Captain Roy Smith explained how his team had to endure a couple of scary moments before winning by 35 runs at Colchester.

A fine final spell by Chamikara Mudalige (4-27) helped Hornchurch dismiss the hosts for 182 chasing 218 to win at Castle Park.

“Saturday was perfect in the end, but it did look iffy at one stage,” said Smith. “We won the toss and batted first on what looked like a decent wicket, but it was actually very slow and sticky.

“Apart from when the ball was new and coming on hard, which was when Ronnie Saunders was going well, it was really hard to get it away in the middle overs.

“We felt our score of 217 was a bit under-par and I would have been much happier with 240 or even 230.”

Imraan Mannack top scored for Hornchurch on his first-team debut with a 71-ball 65 which included seven fours.

Smith added 33 before some late runs from Chris Saints (32) helped the visitors reach 217 before they were all out on the final ball of their innings.

“Imraan is an overseas from South Africa and he came over with Brian Barnard,” explained Hornchurch’s captain.

“And it worked out quite well for us on Saturday because Brian was ill, so we got Imraan in to play.

“He is a big lad, 6ft 5, and an attacking batsman, who did extremely well, especially given the circumstances.

“He can bowl a little bit of off-spin too and even though he didn’t pick up any wickets, he bowled well and took a couple of good catches for us.”

After setting Colchester 218 to win, Hornchurch made a fantastic start as Mehad Khan (2-30) picked up two early wickets.

The hosts regrouped afterwards and were going well before lightning saw the players come off the field.

Smith was worried at this point, but eventually they came back on and Mudalige, with the help of the other spinners, turned the game in Hornchurch’s favour.

He added: “We managed to get an early wicket, but they got a decent partnership going and we were looking up at the clouds at this stage.

“After about 16 or 17 overs we had a bit of lightning, so came off and they had their noses in front on Duckworth-Lewis.

“We managed to get back on and got a couple of wickets with the spinners bowling exceptionally at this point.

“But yet again they got another partnership going and we had to throw the ball to the little master, Chami, and he ripped through them, so it was great in the end.”

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