Gidea Park & Romford cut gap in Essex League Division Two title race
PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 August 2016
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Oakfield Parkonians beat leaders to boost promotion hopes
Gidea Park & Romford closed the gap on Essex League Division Two leaders Belhus after romping to a six-wicket win over Old Southendian.
Matt Connaughton took three wickets as the visitors made 245-6, before Shawn Findlay smashed an unbeaten 90 in a notable stand with captain Jamal Francis, who was out for 99 just before the close.
And victory leaves Park just 15 points off top spot with five matches remaining in the season.
Francis had put the visitors into bat after winning the toss and saw Connaughton strike an early blow with the new ball.
Zisan Abedin then ended a 67-run stand for the second wicket, before Sam Hewitt (2-23) also got in on the act with a quick brace to leave Southendian 100-4 after 30 overs.
David Johnson and Matt Wilson hit back with a 93-run partnership for the fifth wicket, with Johnson smashing five sixes and four fours in his 67 from 47 balls.
Connaughton ended Johnson’s attack and also claimed the scalp of Adam Rendall in his next over to finish with 3-33.
But Wilson (45 not out) saw the visitors reach the close on 245-6 and Rendall dismissed James Pegram cheaply in only the third over of Park’s reply.
Kasi Hoq (26) put on 67 for the second wicket with captain Francis, but Abedin fell cheaply to leave Park 88-3 in the 18th over.
That brought Findlay to the crease, though, and he maintained his fine form with the bat with another brutal innings.
Findlay dominated a 156-run stand with Francis, who fell one run short of a century after hitting 13 fours in a 105-ball innings that took his side to the brink.
And Findlay was unbeaten on 90, from just 68 balls, after hitting two sixes and 13 fours as George Rogers hit the winning runs from his one and only ball faced.
Oakfield Parkonians gave their hopes of promotion a lift with a superb six-wicket victory over leaders Belhus.
Eshun Kaley took four wickets as the visitors were dismissed for a modest 163, before Paran Kalley’s unbeaten 49 saw Parks to their target with 18 overs to spare.
Belhus captain Danny Joyce chose to bat after winning the toss, but fell to Selvam Ramasamy for 13.
Raghav Chopra (3-28) produced a superb spell to leave the visitors on the back foot, with Kalley nabbing two wickets in quick succession.
Martin Guilbert held firm for Belhus, but Abdul Rehman Razzaq (2-23) kept Parks on top and Kalley claimed the last two wickets to fall to finish with 4-28.
Faisal Bhatti (20) and captain Jibran Azam (36) gave Parks a solid platform in reply, with Haris Khan (23) and Ramya Upadhyay keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
And Paran and Eshun Kalley completed the successful run chase which leaves Parks just four points off the top two with five matches remaining.