Harold Wood ‘have to stick together’

Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke directs his field at Wanstead (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke directs his field at Wanstead (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Captain believes club can survive

Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke believes his side can avoid the drop from the Essex League Premier Division.

Wood take on leaders Chelmsford tomorrow (Saturday), having lost by 80 runs against title hopefuls Wanstead last weekend.

Defeat left them three points adrift of safety, with seven games left, and Clarke said: “We are looking forward to the challenge. We are sticking together as a unit and a team and spirits are good, even though the season is tough.

“If we can continue to stick together as a team and as a club then I am sure we will have a positive end to the season.”

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Wood had Wanstead in trouble as Shahbaz Khan (3-46) and Richard Brabner (3-47) shone with the ball.

But the hosts recovered and their total of 300 proved too many, Clarke adding: “It was a frustrating loss. Having got ourselves in a good position with the oppositon 152-7 we ran into a couple of excellent innings, which can happen at that level.

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“We were never expecting to be chasing 300, but there was not much else we could have done.

“I’m glad we showed some backbone in our chase and posted a good total ourselves, which actually took us up a place in the table.”

Teenager Afra Malik shone as the seconds held onto top spot with a 42-run win over West Essex.

Malik came in with Wood 70-4 and hit an unbeaten 117, with Richard Bonner clubbing 54 off 24 balls.

Glen Wooding made a patient 52 as Wood got to 309-7, with Bonner (2-25) and Malik (2-32) nabbing braces as the visitors came up short.

The thirds drew their derby with Gidea Park & Romford, with the scores level.

Hafiz Ali (67) and Jeff Thomas (53) led Park to 226-8, with Billy Mortimer (3-42) and Billy Winters (3-57) the pick of Wood’s bowling.

George Bryant hit 88 against his former club in reply, but Wood lost their way and Lee Abbott (29 not out) could not score the two runs needed for victory off the last ball.

The fourths beat Belhus thirds by four wickets, after Murugesh Mohanasundharam (3-1) and Dean Eades (3-28) combined to dismiss their hosts for 113.

Adam Pickett (137) hit a maiden century and shared a record fifth-wicket stand of 167 with Dan Lucas (44 not out) as the fifths made 252-5 against Old Southendian.

Ian Jones (3-17), Amir Salim (3-31) and Keith Donovan (2-31) bowled Wood to a 112-run victory.

Hamzah Ikram (118 not out) and Bryant (50 not out) led Wood’s academy side to a seven-wicket win over Loughton, who made 218 in the Essex Sunday League with Kris Ali (3-17) the pick of the bowling.

Wood’s women went down by eight wickets against Bishop’s Stortford, after Emily Finch (43) top scored in their 122.

Malik recorded his second century of the weekend as Wood’s under-16s beat Billericay in the Essex Matchplay plate.

Malik (100 not out) led Wood to 229-6, with Joe Stallibrass (33) giving support, before Harris Mahmood (2-3), Zohran Afzal (2-29) and Stallibrass (2-30) dismissed Billericay for 215 to send Wood into the semi-finals.

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