Barking captain Shafiq says just being back out on pitch was great despite heavy loss
PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 July 2020
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Barking captain Shaan Shafiq says they were just delighted to be back doing what they love despite suffering a seven-wicket defeat to local rivals Newham.
The Mayesbrook Park outfit were all out for 108 with Hasnain Qureshi top-scoring with 55 but Newham eased their way to a comfortable victory in the first Shepherd Neame Essex League match of 202 after a long lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Shafiq – who has taken over the reigns from Ehsan Afzal, who has departed for Upminster – says just being out on the pitch was the best thing. although they must improve.
“I think most importantly, the main thing we’re happy about is that we’re finally playing, it wasn’t about the result or anything else as much as we want to win and we want to play well it was a relief to be back playing,” Shafiq said.
“You realise how much you love something when you don’t have it and I think all of us couldn’t wait to get back playing.
“That being said, I think we had two weeks to prepare, we were very under-cooked, and we need time as we’ve lost three or four senior players from last year.
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“We’ve got some youngsters coming through and just need some time to adjust.”
Shafiq added: “We didn’t play well in all areas and Newham were the deserved winners.”
Barking will now play host to Walthamstow at Mayesbrook Park on Saturday as they look to take on a new opponent.
The skipper knows it will be a tough season due to the way the leagues have been regionalised for a short, nine-week campaign.
“You’ll see a more positive performance, obviously they’re coming from leagues above us, and we’re coming from below into this league and not as prepared as we want to be,” he added.
“For us this season is about just checking out the standard and it’s going to be better than we expected and better than we can expect going forward as the way they’ve done the leagues is just by region this season so we might be playing against a team from the Premier League and we’re Division Three.
“They’ve mixed up the teams just to get some cricket games played, so we will be playing some tough teams and it will be a tough eight games (to go) for us.
“It gives us some cricket and we can prepare for next season properly while trying to nick some games.”
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