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Malik makes his mark as Harold Wood enjoy a silver lining to impressive season

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 September 2017

Harold Wood celebrate their Essex Sunday League play-off final win against Scintilla

Harold Wood celebrate their Essex Sunday League play-off final win against Scintilla

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Harold Wood ended the season with some silverware after beating Scintilla in the Essex Sunday League play-off final at the weekend.

Harold Wood's Afra Malik was man of the match in their play-off final win Harold Wood's Afra Malik was man of the match in their play-off final win

An excellent match remained in the balance until the final over, before Wood clinched their victory with three balls remaining.

Barking-based Scintilla, who play in the Essex County League on Saturdays, slipped to 14-2 in the face of excellent new-ball bowling from Brad Ayling and Muhammad Khan.

But a 121-run stand for the fifth wicket between Ashfaqur Nobel (70) and Abul Hasib (60) looked to be setting them up for a good total.

Ayling (2-24) and Khan (3-20) had more success, though, and Billy Mortimer (2-48) produced some excellent bowling late in the innings including a wicket off the final ball of his spell to take his tally for the season to 50 as Scintilla were dismissed for 187 on a pitch giving some assistance to the bowlers.

A good 57-run opening stand between Ricky Cooper (22) and Afra Malik set up Wood’s run chase, with Malik then holding firm as wickets fell at the other end.

Malik showed maturity to reach 78, before his exit left Wood 162-5 and it was left to captain Stuart Connor to hit an unbeaten 28 to see his side to a three-wicket win, as Harry Thompson hit the winning runs.

Club chairman Tom Clarke saud: “I’m really proud of the boys’ achievement this season. They were disappointed to get relegated last year but have done really well to just lose one game all year.

“The team is a really young one and has allowed some of the players who play lower XIs on a Saturday to test themselves, and they have done superbly.

“I would especially like to say well done to Stu Connor who helped the team gain promotion in his first season as captain.

“It ends a season for the club where four teams have now secured promotion, which is a superb return from some very hard work put in by all of our members and volunteers.”

Harold Wood are holding their end-of-season clear-up day from 9am tomorrow (Saturday) with members asked to come and help put things away for winter.

The club’s dinner and dance is due to take place at Top Meadow Golf Club on November 11, with tickets £35 and £30 (under-18s).

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