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Weekly League roundup by George Watson

Week Eighteen - 26 August 2018

Victoria Lounge take Division 2 honours

Divison 2

Victoria Lounge were crowned Division 2 champions after a hard-fought and tense victory against the ever dangerous Mad Marroccas. With the pair having the highest run rate in the division, a close match was expected. Victoria Lounge without Tim Garrett (although he remained ever present from the sidelines nursing a broken arm) won the toss opting to bat first. It looked to be a good toss to win as they started in ferocious form with openers Jim Crutcher (50) and Mohammed Alam (34) blasting the ball across the park, putting on a partnership of seventy-three. They were helped by some late hits from Gary Flanaghan (24) which accelerated the Lounge to a tricky but not impossible to chase 167-2. With the Expats players watching from the sidelines knowing a Lounge win would deny them the title by run-rate alone, MM didn’t disappoint with their chase. MM openers Neuman Iqbal and Joe Gray looked in great touch as they kept themselves ahead of the run-rate at the half way point, putting on a century stand. Neuman retired not out for a half-century for a third straight match and their single wicket fell when Gray was run out, four short of his 50. But as darkness crept in MM struggled to time the ball, with in-form captain Robbie Jacobs keeping the hunt on with some fierce swinging and missing as the rate continued to rise. Needing fifteen off the final over, Mad Marroccas could only manage six, finishing nine runs short on a 159-1 to crown the Lounge champions.

Crossrail ended their Victoria Park era with victory over bottom-placed Sports Interactive and themselves ending fifth place in the league. Batting first, Crossrail struck 165-6, opener Riz Mohammed (51) continuing his good form alongside Muhammed Ansari (21). Despite an enjoyable 46 from Mark Duffy, Sports Interactive fell well short ending on 106-6 in their allotted overs.

Broadway’s season ended with victory over Pacific. Broadway, opting to bat first, struck 130-2 with Tom Fulcher (50) top scoring alongside fellow opener Talor Morley (33). Pacific in response fell thirty runs short, finishing on 100 with Aly Duncan (27) the leading batsmen and Morley taking 1-9 from his four overs, as Broadway ended sixth and Pacific tenth.

Masiha were edged out by Victoria Lounge, Expats and Camel Lights into fourth place in the league without having to venture onto the field, as their match against Mad Marroccas was forfeited by Robbie Jacob’s men in what would have been their second game in consecutive days.

Mad Marroccas ended in a surprising eighth place, despite their superb run of wins prior to this week. The finale to the league season was left to the league secretary himself, with Gary Horseman leading out Homerton against old rivals Old Fallopians 2nd XI. OF, batting first made a terrific start with Zubair Gardiwala striking 36 off just fifteen balls including three sixes before he misjudged a short ball and was beautifully caught by Sam Hickey. Despite fifty off five overs and fellow opener Matt Wake (33) and Jack Wright (30) looking in good form, OF eventually finished on a disappointing 134-6 thanks largely to a superb late burst of wickets from Mark Towle (4-33). With the inevitable mid-August gloom sweeping across the park Homerton never looked in too much trouble, with the ever reliable Len Hutchinson (52) and the superb all-round display of Mark Towle (28) guiding them to victory with two overs still in the tank and handing Gary’s men seventh place in the league, a mere point below fourth.

And, so, with Homerton’s victory in the dark, the 2018 VPCCL came to a close. A season which saw its first centurion for almost a decade (Sanj Guewardene), one five-wicket haul (Joe Fisher) and a tense battle in both Division 1, Division 2 and the Cup with both divisions going down to the final week and three brand new crowned champions.

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