May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Joshua Richards
Thursday, August 30, 2012
“We deserved to win it” says skipper Shafiq
Barking Cricket Club were crowned Essex County Premier League champions for the first time in their history on Saturday and captain Sharn Shafiq feels the dedication from his players has been the secret to their success this season.Barking – whose only previous honour was winning the First XI Division Two title in 2001 before the competition was reorganised – have enjoyed a remarkable change in fortune in the last 12 months, having ended the 2011 season second from bottom of the Premier League table.
And Shafiq must have feared the worst again this season after three defeats from four, followed two rain-abandoned matches.
But 10 wins, plus two abandonments, have followed in the subsequent 12 games to earn Shafiq and his players the crown.
They were unable to finish the job in style as torrential rain brought an abrupt end to their title-decider with second-placed Newham at Flanders Field on Saturday.
But Shafiq insists the best team won and praised his players for their strong team ethic.
“We’ve won the most games in the league, so I think we deserved to win it,” he said.
“I have been at the club for 10 years and this is the most together the team has been. We really bonded this year and were well organised. Everyone was on time, trained hard and were professional in their approach throughout, that has been the difference within our team this year.
“We’ve taken 12 players to a lot of matches this year and have had to let others down who were available to play. Last year we were sometimes struggling to get 11.
“We’re installing new nets, which we hope can attract new players and improve the club’s youngsters. We’re on the up.”
There were just 32 overs able to be played on Saturday, after heavy rain washed away Newham’s hopes of over-throwing Barking at the top of the table on the final day.Shafiq won the pre-match coin toss and his decision to bowl first was vindicated, with the hosts reduced to 89-4 before play was halted.
Muddassar Saddique claimed two of the four wickets and his skipper was full of praise for the bowler’s contribution.
“We had a lot of good individual performers,” Shafiq said. “Saeed Shahid is among the leading wicket-takers in the league and Pulkit Gupta is one of the highest runs scorers.
“But Mudassar Saddique has been our most consistent player. He bowls nine overs in every game and takes wickets in every game. His bowling is so tight and effective. He’ll be my vote for player of the year.
“Saturday was a good day. We wanted to play the game, we were on top, but it rained so heavily it just wasn’t possible.”
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