Shahbaz Khan hopes Harold Wood Cricket club can improve at local rivals Upminster Cricket Club

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 May 2016

Richard Brabner (centre, right) of Harold Wood celebrates taking a wicket with Shahbaz Khan (centre, left) at home to Fives & Heronians (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Richard Brabner (centre, right) of Harold Wood celebrates taking a wicket with Shahbaz Khan (centre, left) at home to Fives & Heronians (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

After drawing with Fives last weekend and losing to Woodford Wells on Wednesday, Wood are looking to bounce back

Harold Wood vice-captain Shahbaz Khan is looking forward to taking charge, with Richard Brabner to miss the trip to rivals Upminster for an Essex League Division One derby tomorrow (Saturday).

The all-rounder was skipper for Wednesday’s Dukes T20 South West Group B fixture at home to Woodford Wells, but couldn’t help his team chase 116 as they were all out for 101.

But after drawing with Fives & Heronians last Saturday in the league, Wood will look for another positive result this weekend, despite the absence of skipper Brabner, who is at a wedding.

“I’ll be captain at the weekend and we face Upminster who are a good team,” said Khan. “Our side will be different compared to what it was for Wednesday’s T20 match.

“We’ll have more players back and it’s a good wicket at Upminster, so hopefully we can go there and do better than we managed against Woodford Wells.”

Each of Harold Wood’s three fixtures in Division One have provided close encounters with Brabner’s team sitting seventh.

On the opening day of the season they scored 238 at Southend, only for the hosts to hold on for a draw at 213-9.

Wood were then beaten by four wickets at home by Billericay after the visitors chased down 194. But they had Fives in trouble on 93-6, before they hauled themselves up to 253 and Wood only managed to make 193-8 with the bat and settled for a draw.

And although Brabner will be absent at Upminster, he expects another close encounter and backs his team-mates to do well.

“Upminster lost their first game, but have bounced back really well in their second and third matches in the division,” said Brabner.

“They have Alan Ison as captain and they’ve signed a lot of good players, so it will be a tough match. I’m sure it will be another good game like our previous three as each one has been tight in some aspect. I know the boys will put in a strong performance, hopefully we can achieve a good result.”

Brabner admitted Harold Wood were left disappointed after only managing a draw at home to Fives last weekend.

Maruf Chowdhury (6-74) ran through the visitors top order, but dropped catches were costly as they recovered to post 253.

Craig Perrin (36), vice-captain Khan (34) and Chowdhury (39) all got starts, but none could go on and make the big score needed.

In the end, Brabner was required to score 30 not out off 76 balls to ensure his team didn’t lose and added: “At the end we were a little bit relieved to secure the draw.

“Overall the feeling was one of disappointment and that was down to the fact we dropped far too many catches. It’s been the story of the season for us.

“It is a cliché, but catches do win matches and we haven’t taken enough. If we had, in the crucial moments, I think we’d have two victories on the board now. We are not too far away from that first win and hopefully if we can improve in that area, it won’t be too far away.”

Burhan Mahmood (3-17) helped restricted Wells to 115-8 in Wood’s first T20 match of the season on Wednesday, but 29 from opener Raihan Hussain wasn’t enough to get Harold Wood home as they came up 15 runs short of victory.

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