Upminster keep Essex League Division One title bid on track
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2016
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Derby delight at Harold Wood for Ison's men
Upminster kept their title hopes alive in Essex League Division One with a 13-run derby success at Harold Wood.
Shahbaz Butt and Harry Jenkins hit half-centuries in vital 133-run stand to lead the visitors to 226-7, before John Curtis and Connor Whetstone took three wickets apiece to help dismiss Wood for 213.
Upminster captain Alan Ison chose to bat first after winning the toss, but saw Julian Whetstone fall to Shahbaz Khan in the ninth over after reaching double figures.
Wood skipper Richard Brabner then removed Shafiq Rahman and Ison with successive deliveries to leave the visitors 40-3, with Frank Hazle falling to Khan just three balls later with only one more run added to the total.
Butt and vice-captain Jenkins dug deep for Upminster, though, and combined for the next 30 overs to frustrate the hosts.
Butt hit two sixes and 10 fours on his way to 83 from 98 balls, before he fell to Maruf Chowdhury to end a 133-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Young Louis Pickering struck a couple of boundaries in a brief cameo, before he fell to Khan (4-27) and Connor Whetstone followed three balls later to make it 200-7.
Jenkins survived at the other end to finish unbeaten on 57, from 106 deliveries, with four fours as Matt Tigg gave late support to lift the total to 226-7.
Mohammed Shihan (22) put on 42 for the first Wood wicket with Raihan Hussain, before being caught by Butt off Curtis.
And Craig Perrin followed without addition to the total, offering Curtis a caught and bowled chance.
Chowdhury helped move the score along to 77, before succumbing to Connor Whestone, and Hussain fell to Tigg for 37 to leave Wood 109-4 at drinks and the match nicely poised.
But Upminster took the game by the scruff of the neck after the restart as Whetstone (3-37) took two wickets in three balls and Rahman removed the dangerous Khan to leave Wood 133-7 after 33 overs.
Tigg trapped Waqas Shafique leg before wicket, with the total on 142 and young leg-spinner Zohran Afzal fell to Rahman to leave Wood 160-9 in the 41st over.
But Wood skipper Brabner received dogged support from last man Harry Thompson and the pair shared a half-century stand for the 10th wicket, before Upminster sealed victory with nine balls remaining.
Brabner hit eight fours in his run-a-ball 62 before becoming the third victim for Curtis, as Upminster maintained their 46-point lead over Orsett with five matches remaining.