Wanstead beat Hornchurch to edge closer to Essex League Premier Division title
PUBLISHED: 12:42 21 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:42 21 August 2016
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Long-time leaders have 25-point cushion at top
Wanstead took another step towards clinching the Essex League Premier Division title in their 150th anniversary season with a three-wicket win over Hornchurch.
The Herons saw their lead cut by five points as Brentwood beat defending champions Chelmsford, but still have a 25-point cushion at the summit heading into the last two matches of the season.
The start of play at Overton Drive was delayed due to rain, which saw 10 overs lost from the match.
Hornchurch captain Roy Smith chose to bat first after winning the toss, but Michael Bones fell to a third-ball duck as Zain Shahzad struck with the new ball.
Jamie Sorrell and Billy Gordon put on 82 for the second wicket, before slow left-armer Aron Nijjar bowled the latter for 25.
But big-hitting West Indian Rashidi Boucher fell cheaply, trapped leg before by Kishen Velani, to leave Hornchurch 89-3.
Sorrell reached 73 off 98 balls, with nine fours, when he was bowled by Mohammed Fayyaz Khan and Tom Moore was trapped leg before by fellow Essex staffer Velani (2-32) with only two runs to his name to make it 133-5.
Skipper Smith held firm at one end as Fayyaz Khan dismissed Mohib Shah and Sam Peiris three balls apart with the score on 152, with Nijjar (3-51) then accounting for Marc Whitlock and Chamikara Mudalige.
And Smith was unbeaten on 57, having hit a six and five fours in a 112-ball innings, as Fayyaz Khan (4-54) dismissed last man Myles Wells to wrap up the Hornchurch innings on 204 in the 57th over.
Wanstead lost Arfan Akram and Saurav Prabhakar to Moore (2-54), with Feroze Khushi falling to Mudalige to leave them 35-3.
But Velani and captain Hassan Chowdhury, deputising for regular skipper Joe Ellis-Grewal, shared a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket to put the home side back on track.
Velani hit nine fours to reach 43 before falling to Shah (2-45), who also accounted for Adnan Akram to leave Herons 127-5.
Chowdhury held firm as Nijjar and Lesbourne Edwards were dismissed by off-spinner Mudalige (3-46) to reduce Wanstead to 160-7.
And wicketkeeper-batsman Jonathan Das put on an unbroken 47 for the eighth wicket to help the home side to their target, finishing unbeaten on 25 from just 22 balls.
In-form Chowdhury closed on 79, having hit a six and six fours in his 104-ball innings, to leave Wanstead within touching distance of the title.
Herons visit relegation threatened Buckhurst Hill next weekend, as rivals Brentwood travel to struggling Chingford.