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Missed opportunity for Harold Wood and skipper Clarke

13:55 21 July 2014

Harold Wood Skipper exchanges Tom Clarke, Pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO

Harold Wood Skipper exchanges Tom Clarke, Pic: Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO

Ray Lawrence/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY

Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke felt his side missed a great opportunity at the weekend against Loughton in the Essex League Premier Division.

Wood were beaten by three wickets but had they earned victory on Saturday it would have put them top of the table, an excellent achievement considering they were only promoted last season.

A poor batting display first up cost Clarke’s team, though, as they were bowled out for 142 and the skipper praised number 10 Umar Farooq for top scoring with 29, but called for his side to start delivering with the bat more often.

“We didn’t play as well as we have this season and we only have ourselves to blame,” Clarke admitted.

“We didn’t bat well enough, I won the toss and the pitch looked really good but we kept losing wickets at bad times, to silly dismissals as well.

“We were lucky to make 142 in the end as it was only Umar at number 10 batting really well but nobody could make a big score after getting starts.

“We are disappointed but it is a lesson learnt. It feels like a missed opportunity because we would have been top of the league had we won but that is cricket. It is fine margins and we can’t keep expecting the bowlers to bail us out.”

The bowlers very nearly did bail the batsmen out when Loughton were reduced to 80-5 at tea.

It seemed like Wood could pull off another win but despite the best efforts of Shahbaz Khan (3-29) and Mahruf Chowdhury (4-33), they lost momentum after that break to leave Clarke and co disappointed.

He added: “We knew if we bowled well we had a chance and we had them 80-5 at tea and we had the momentum then but tea came at the wrong time and changed everything.

“They come out and scored about 25 off the first two overs and even though we got a couple more wickets, it was gone after tea.

“Shahbaz and Mahruf both bowled superbly. Mahruf has bowled really quick all season, real express pace.

“He picked up four wickets in his first four overs and we were hoping then he might run through them but when you are defending a low total it only takes one partnership to take it away from you and two of Loughton’s guys got together and did just that.”

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