Club Cricket Conference

Sunday, 17th December 2017

Crash! Wanstead's fliers hit pleasant nightmare

By Charles Randall

10 August 2017

These are great times at Wanstead & Snaresbrook CC in London, but their  weekend fixtures have turned into a "logistical nightmare" according to the club's chairman.

Wanstead's extraordinary season has led to a log-jam of knockout matches, which will force them to field two sides on the same day, August 20,  in the Conference Cup and the Essex League Cup. Surely even this resourceful club cannot win two big matches in one day. But don't bet on it...

Chairman Martin Pluck said: "We have had our successes in the past, including reaching the final of the National, but this is unprecedented. It has been tremendous, but at the same time arranging the games has been a logistical nightmare. There have been real problems."

Incredibly Wanstead remain alive in four cup competitions. They compete in the area final of the ECB National T20 at Walsall CC's  ground on Sunday (August 13)  and they travel to Sussex to play East Grinstead in the Royal London National Club Championship semi-finals on August 27, a reward for Kishen Velani's heroics in a hard-fought four-wicket win over High Wycombe.

In between on August 20 Wanstead face a mega-tough postponed Conference quarter-final  against Ealing at Overton Drive while a splinter side plays a postponed league cup semi-final at Chingford. If they happen to reach the Essex final, the match against either Belhus or Southend-on-Sea is scheduled for August 28, the Bank Holiday Monday after their East Grinstead game at Saint Hill Road. Phew!  

While the fixture secretary endures this very pleasant nightmare, Wanstead ride high at the  top of the Essex League, thanks to their latest prodigy Feroze Khushi, the top division's highest run-scorer with an Essex 2nd XI century to his name already.

It seems a shame that Wanstead - nine of their nucleus are local youth products - have been 'rewarded' for reflecting credit on the Essex League with the semi-final double-header. From the outside, setting the league cup final date in stone does not look good.

If Wanstead dared to look ahead, they might see themselves playing in finals on August 28 at  Wickford CC (Essex League Cup), on September 3 at Chingford CC (Conference Cup),  on September 11, Monday under lights at Derby County Ground (National T20) and on September 17 at Chelmsford County Ground (National Club Championship). Or maybe...  none of them.

Wanstead looked out for the count against High Wycombe at Overton Drive.  Chasing a 45-over score of 182 the home side lost three early wickets to Tom Hampton in a tight new-ball attack with Xavier Owen, but Velani restored a grim picture with 86 not out off 99 balls, supported by Tom Cummins, with a quick-fire 35. Velani's nine overs with the ball produced a 1-28, the most economic return among a strong group of bowlers. Nathan Hawkes top-scored for High Wycombe with 54.

East Grinstead reached the semi-final stage for the first time by defeating Bath. The Sussex table leaders never looked back after an opening stand of 106 between their captain Will Adkin, with 86, and  Bradley Hatchett (49). The score of 221-7 proved too much for Bath, who lost two early wickets to left-armer Lewis Hatchett, Bradley's brother, before succumbing to 177 all out. Hatchett, a key bowler, pulled up in his third over with a hamstring twinge to avoid further injury before the game against Wanstead.

The performance of the quarter-finals in the Conference Cup for the Bertie joel Trophy went to Martin Andersson, a Leeds-Bradford University student on Middlesex's books, who hit 140 for Sunbury in a surprisingly comfortable win over many times past Joel winners Waltham. Rhythm Bedi hit 64 off 73 balls and took 4-28 as Waltham were bowled out for 196. Kasif Ali's 51 off 50 balls was to no avail.

Joel holders West Indies United demolished Bexley by 68 runs after recovering from 48-5 to 231-8. Stan Wells and Jason Benn took three wickets each for Bexley, but United's  captain and wicketkeeper Lennon Lawrence turned the game on its head with a brilliant  73 off 65 balls.

Conference Cup for the Bertie Joel Trophy, semi-finals

Cambridge Granta v Wanstead or Ealing (August 27 or 28)
West Indies United v Sunbury (August 20)
Final: Sunday, September 3 at Chingford CC (11am)

Sovereign Trophy final 

Tuesday August 22, at Chipstead-Coulsdon & Walcountians CC
Elliott Davis Lge v South East Sunday Lge