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Essex League Division One: Nicky Ison pleased with T20 Cup progress, but admits Upminster rode their luck at times

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 May 2018

S Butt of Upminster during Upminster CC vs Hainault and Clayhall CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cricket at Upminster Park on 26th May 2018

S Butt of Upminster during Upminster CC vs Hainault and Clayhall CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cricket at Upminster Park on 26th May 2018

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Despite being all out for 89 to Hainault & Clayhall in Division One on Saturday, Upminster bounced back impressively two days later

Nicky Ison conceded Upminster enjoyed the rub of the green in both of their Essex League T20 Cup wins on Monday which secured them another spot in finals day.

The Division One club first of all defeated Premier Division side Hadleigh & Thundersley before edging out another top flight outfit in the shape of Billericay.

It capped a fine day for Upminster with Shahbaz Butt hitting fifties in both games to help send them to finals day on July 1 at Billericay where they will play Colchester in the semi-final and possibly Hornchurch or Brentwood in the final later that day.

“We didn’t really expect much,” admitted Ison. “We just wanted to go out there and have some fun and it was good for the batsmen to have a free license.

“We had a bit of luck and we rode it throughout the day, especially ‘Shabs’ who was dropped four times by Hadleigh and once by Billericay, but he passed fifty twice even though the pitch was very difficult which you can probably tell from the scorecards.”

Upminster hosted Group B of the T20 Cup and started the action with a solid victory over Hadleigh.

Ollie Peck starred with the ball and claimed 4-25 to leave the Premier Division club in a spin and John Curtis showed his class with 3-6 from three overs to bowl them all out for only 97 with 18 balls of their innings remaining.

Despite a slow start, Upminster made it home with Butt unbeaten on 57 after excellent support by Nabeel Aziz (20*).

Ison added: “In the Hadleigh game we won the toss and bowled first and fair play to the bowlers because they really turned up.

“Peck came in, the ever-green spinner, and loves the T20 format and batsmen found him hard to hit, so he picked up four wickets.

“Louis Pickering (2-15) then bowled the best he had all season and in the chase we were 20-2 after nine, so we were behind then, but ‘Shabs’ was still there and he stayed until the end to see us home.

“Our new signing Nabeel from Wanstead finished unbeaten on 20 as well, so them two calmed any nerves.”

An even closer contest occurred in the qualifier for finals day against Billericay, after they had defended 95 to shock Wanstead earlier in the day.

Upminster scored 133-4 from their 20 overs with Butt (55) again hitting a half century and Pickering ending unbeaten on 34.

Billericay looked set to chase down the total with a few overs left as they only needed a run-a-ball to win, but Ison introduced himself and produced the goods to claim 3-8 from his two overs at the death.

It ensured the Premier Division club finished on 129-8 - sending Upminster through to finals day, the captain said: “We were pleasantly surprised to be facing Billericay and we changed pitches to one which hadn’t been used.

“The pitch was a bit faster and easier and ‘Shabs’ got us off to a good start and we were 50-0 off the first seven, so where we wanted to be, and we knew 130 would be a good score.

“Louis and Kiran (Kullar) hit around 17 off the final over and it got us up to 133 and even though they get off to a quick start in the powerplay, Nabeel got three wickets which changed the game for us.

“We got on top and then they got another partnership together and they needed a run-a-ball off the last four, so I put myself on for two of the last four as the pitch was turning quite a bit and luckily the gamble worked.”

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