Woodford Wells topple champions Upminster
PUBLISHED: 16:30 28 August 2016
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Relegation fight goes down to the wire
Woodford Wells will take their fight to avoid relegation from Essex League Division One to the final day of the season after a tense one-wicket win at newly crowned champions Upminster.
Victory saw Wells climb out of the bottom two and left them three points above Hadleigh, with a home match against relegated Loughton to come at Monkhams Lane, while their fellow strugglers host promotion hopefuls Harold Wood.
Upminster captain Alan Ison chose to bat after winning the toss, but George Ellis dismissed Julian Whetstone without scoring and Shahbaz Butt fell cheaply to Gareth James, a week after hitting 189 at Loughton.
Nabel Shaikh dismissed Louis Pickering for a duck, before Frankie Hazle (36) and Connor Whetstone (20) steadied the ship for the hosts.
Shaikh and James had further success, with first-team debutant Tom Billinghurst getting into double figures along with vice-captain Harry Jenkins.
But Upminster needed some late fireworks from skipper Ison, who dropped himself down the order to number nine and hit five sixes in his 59 as the home side reached 164.
Shaikh (4-30) and James (3-51) were the pick of the Wells bowling, with Tevin Sterling and Rory Ellison also having success.
But Michael Arblaster was trapped leg before by Will Chuter without scoring and Pickering picked up the wicket of his opening partner Luke Clarke.
Wells captain Joe Johnson (43) and Tanveer Shah (34) combined well for the third Wells wicket, before succumbing to Chuter (2-24) and Connor Whetstone respectively.
And Jack Johnson (21) and James (33) kept the visitors on track, before also falling to Whetstone (5-58), who went on to claim his second successive five-wicket haul.
That left Wells nine wickets down, but Shaikh and Ellis kept their nerve to seal a one-wicket win in the 46th over to take the relegation battle down to the wire.
Upminster, still 44 points clear of second-placed Southend, complete their title-winning season with a trip to Harlow.