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Cricket: Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis happy to pick up first Essex Division One win of term with success at South Woodford

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 May 2017

Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis (pic: Graham Hodges)

Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis (pic: Graham Hodges)

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GPR triumphed by two-wickets in rain-affected game on Saturday

Skipper Jamal Francis was delighted Gidea Park were able to collect their first Essex Division One win of the season with a two-wicket success at South Woodford.

After winning the toss and electing to field, Park restricted their hosts to 155-8 in a rain-shortened innings, with Francis and Minhaz Bhad both taking three wickets.

In reply, Francis also impressed, top scoring with 50 as the visitors squeaked home against the Shed.

And having lost their opening league match to Belhus the previous weekend, Francis was delighted Park picked up an early win in the division.

“After being promoted last season, we wanted to get off to a good start so it’s good to get the first win in just the second game.

“We showed good character to bounce back after last week, especially against an experienced South Woodford squad, and I felt we did well in all areas.”

Wet weather in the lead up to the match last Saturday made the wicket difficult to bat on for both teams, and so it proved.

And with that in mind, Francis, who took 3-9, knew it was important his team kept South Woodford to a low total to boost the visitors’ chances of a successful chase.

“We know anything above 175 would be tricky because the wicket was quite wet, so we knew we had to keep it tight in the bowling.

“Some of the work in field too was brilliant too and the runs they saved probably proved the difference in the end.”

After doing well with the ball, GPR captain Francis then impressed with the bat as he top scored for his team in their successful run chase.

But the all-rounder was modest about his contribution, admitting that getting big scores is why he is in the team.

“We all have our batting roles in the squad this season and we’re still getting used to them; if I’m getting 50, though, I should be going on,” he said.

“All trying to get used to our roles, but as long as someone is getting the runs, then we’re in a good place.”

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