Clarke sad as comeback ends in loss

Harold Wood batting against Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Harold Wood batting against Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Wood captain gutted first game after injury did not go to plan

Tom Clarke was upset his return to the Harold Wood starting XI did not end in a victory over Loughton.

Wood’s skipper had been absent in recent weeks with a fractured finger but made his comeback against their fellow Essex Premier Division battlers.

Clarke had been hoping of a happy return but instead saw the hosts fall to a 98-run defeat in sticky conditions at Gubbins Lane.

“It was disappointing in the end as I don’t think we performed at the same level we have all season,” said Clarke.

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“We probably would have wanted to bat first but we were pretty happy to bowl them out for 264. At one stage it looked like they were going to post over 300 but we thought their score was around par.

“We went into tea quite confident and despite losing a wicket early we were in a good position before a middle-order collapse. It was a shame as we were probably in a good place to push until the end.”

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One of the few positives in the loss was a five-wicket haul for Maruf Chowdhury, who mopped up the Loughton tail in double-quick time.

Chowdhury’s display came at an important time for Wood, giving them hope of successive victories for the first time this year, and Clarke was quick to praise the bowler.

He added: “Maruf shook their top order with a few of his deliveries and then came back to dismiss the tail, which probably saved us about 40 runs.”

“The seamers bowled really well as a unit and gave us a total that I think we should have probably chased down.”

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