Royal Sovereign fightback stuns league leaders

Graeme Carlisle of The Camel

Graeme Carlisle of The Camel - Credit: Archant

Royal Sovereign turned the formbook on its head to beat high-flying GBCC by four wickets in week 16 of the North East London Cricket League.

GBCC, who went into the game as league leaders, won the toss at Millfields and elected to bat.

The early signs were good, with openers Ibrahim Mulla and Khalil Mulla putting on 72 in the first seven overs with some classical straight hitting.

They seemed to be laying the foundations for a large total, with Sovereign unable to fashion even a half-chance, until Sean McNeill swooped to run out Khalil for 27.

Ibrahim followed shortly, smartly caught at point by Jude Saverus off the bowling of Dennis Fanus (1-32) and the rest of the GB batting line-up failed to re-establish the dominance shown by their openers.

A typically tidy spell from Mark Stephney (2-22) brought the scoring rate down, and as the batsmen tried to hit out and get back on top, Dwight Alexander’s spin ran through the tail. Alexander finished with 5-44 as GB ended on 184 all out, with eight overs to spare.

In reply, the Sovereign could hardly have got off to a worse start, subsiding to 0-2 with both openers run out without scoring.

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Maksod Jakha (1-28) then bowled Ray Damaze to leave the league strugglers at 23-3, and the Sovereign were staring down the barrel of defeat when further middle order wickets fell, taking them to 73-5.

This brought together Ken Willock and the in-form Luke Browne who, between them, turned the game on its head with a 104-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Browne was eventually run out backing up for 37, while Willock finished on 77 not out, guiding Sovereign to a four-wicket win.

Coach & Horses continued their fine season with a hard-fought win over The Camel by 61 runs on a hot day at Springfield Park.

The Camel won the toss and decided to field first on a pitch that looked bare of grass and perfect for batting.

Opening bowlers Kit Caless and Jonny Williams exploited some unexpected, uneven bounce, putting the ball on a nagging length as they kept the scoring to a minimum.

James Moore (49) and Ted Datta (23) saw Coach through to drinks, ensuring wickets were kept in hand despite the scoreboard reading a rather modest 75-2.

John Turner (67), making his debut, scored freely on a pitch that was proving very difficult to bat on, and despite a fine spell from Andrew Miller (2-21), Coach eventually reached a decent total of 218.

In reply, Shakil Mahmud and the returning Rob Perrett (2-32) provided a free lesson in the art of swing bowling, which was a real test for The Camel’s batsmen.

With the run rate required spiralling, Graeme Carlisle (76) connected with some lusty counter-attacking blows to keep The Camel in the game.

However, James Moore wrapped up the remaining wickets for Coach, dismissing The Camel for 157 to complete a 61-run victory and a fantastic man of the match performance.

Elsewhere, GBCC Strikers beat Stoke Newington by seven wickets on the North Marsh.

The Strikers won the toss and elected to put Stokey in, with excellent opening bowling from Farooq Jabbar and Zubair Ghardiwala accounting for two early wickets.

But Huzaifah Hafesji (57) steadied the innings with the help of Zain Haidrie (15) and Dil Ali (16).

Ultimately, outstanding bowling spells from Altaf Hasna (2-9) and Suhayl Maljee saw wickets tumble and Stoke Newington were bowled out in 25 overs, leaving the Strikers with a target of 113.

Ben Willis (2-35) struck twice early on to leave the Strikers two down for not many, but a partnership between Ammar Malji (41) and Zakaria Budi (30 not out) saw runs piling up very quickly.

Once Malji was dismissed, Moulana Idris Mulla came to the crease and ensured that his team remained unbeaten by sending a few balls to the boundary to complete a comprehensive seven-wicket win.

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