Hornchurch captain Roy Smith: Essex's Ashar Zaidi was difference for Ilford in Essex League Premier Division clash
PUBLISHED: 15:30 17 August 2016
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Talented Pakistan all-rounder shone with bat and ball at Harrow Lodge Park to help his team to victory
Hornchurch captain Roy Smith felt Ashar Zaidi was the difference on Saturday as his team lost to Ilford in the Essex League Premier Division.
Without Paul Walter, Tom Moore, Paul Murray, Marc Whitlock and Mo Shah, the Harrow Lodge Park outfit were always expected to struggle.
Smith top scored with 74 and Rashidi Boucher fell six short of his half century as Hornchurch were eventually dismissed for 223.
Zaidi claimed three wickets and then smashed 73 off just 54 balls as Ilford triumphed by six wickets.
“He bowled 20 overs and conceded just 38 runs with near enough every ball in a good area,” said Smith.
“With his batting, I saw him on the television a few weeks back and the guy is a quality player. He was knocking it around with his eyes closed and we couldn’t stop him, but we gave it a go.
“Before he come in we had them four down and we got a sniff, we believed at that point, but that ended as soon as he come in.”
Smith discussed whether Hornchurch would have been better served batting second after winning the toss.
With the format of the Essex League now all-day cricket, the hosts could have tried to hold out for a draw.
But despite missing several key performers, they remained confident and tried to play positively against Ilford.
“In hindsight, you could say we should have bat second, taken the negative approach and bat out for a draw if we have to,” said Smith.
“But I felt we had a good enough batting line-up to enable us to set a good score for Ilford to chase.
“When we got reduced to 47-4, we were knackered then and it was a case of digging in to post a respectable score.
“Me and ‘Bouchy’ hung in there and had to not take any risks because of the situation we found ourselves in.
“We were up against Zaidi and Ilford had four spinners overall and it turned from the first ball so it wasn’t easy.”
A positive to come from the match was the experience offered to Hornchurch’s young spinner Ed Smith.
Having made his debut earlier in the campaign, the teenager bowled five overs and conceded 40 runs.
He did claim the scalp of Ilford’s wicket-keeper Saf Imtiaz and Hornchurch’s captain praised the youngster.
Smith added: “It was a valuable experience for somebody like Ed. He has played a few games this year for us.
“Whenever he does come in, he always seems to get a wicket and got a good one on Saturday.
“He got Ilford’s wicket-keeper Saf Imtiaz for single figures and he hit 175 against Essex’s second team a few weeks ago.
“It’s great for Ed to get him out and looking at the positives from the game, him getting that experience was definitely one.”