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Cricket: Barking skipper Ehsan Afzal believes trip to Ace will be clash between Essex County Premier Division title rivals

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 June 2017

Barking cricket club (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

Barking cricket club (Pic: Jacob Ranson)

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Barking are currently third, 15 points behind leaders Ace

Barking skipper Ehsan Afzal believes Saturday’s trip to Essex County Premier Division leaders Ace could well be a game that goes a long way to deciding the title.

Following a enthralling one-run win over local rivals Scintilla, Barking are third in the table, but only 15 points behind leaders Ace.

And with no breaks from now until the end of the season, Afzal believes a regular run of matches will favour Barking in their title challenge.

“So far the season has been up and down and also has been affected by the schedule which has seen us play only six games in the first nine weeks,” he said.

“It is tough to keep the momentum going when you know you have a break soon. We are now past that and have a game right through to the end of the season.

“We now are placed well in the league to go and compete for the title.

“The batting has not fired yet, but the players are feeling in good form.

“It’s only around the corner when you see the team reaching the heights of last year, where we scored over 250 in seven consecutive games.”

Against Scintilla last time out, Barking showed tremendous character to pull off a win by the narrowest of margins.

Batting first, Barking were all out for 192 with Pulkit Gupta’s knock of 46 the top score.

In reply, Imran Butt and Bhavik Kothari took three wickets each as Scintilla came up agonisingly short.

And Afzal was thrilled with the manner of victory, believing it could spur Barking on for the rest of the season.

“You could see by the celebrations after the game, how it made us feel. It was long overdue,” he added.

“We needed to taste victory again, and this was the best way to taste it – beating a team in form with so much on the line.

“No one from the team gave up, they gave it their all: chasing the ball to the boundary, backing each other, attacking each ball.

“Our keeper Zohaib Hasan put his body on the line and took blows for the team so that the opposition don’t get any extra runs. Each player can take a lot away from this victory.”

Whether Barking can consider themselves title contenders hinges a lot of this weekend, when a win against Ace could see them clamber above their rivals in the standings.


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