NEW skipper Firaz Amjad remains upbeat despite seeing Reading crash to defeat on a record-breaking day at Sonning Lane on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

They lost by 115 runs to Amersham in their first home Division 2 game of the season.

The visitors overcame the loss of an early wicket to amass an impressive 335-2 in their 50 overs.

Their second-wicket stand of 313 between Bruce Friderichs and Robert Viney was the highest ever recorded in the Home Counties Premier League.

It came to an end when Viney was caught by keeper Amjad off the bowling of Abid Ul Wahab for 128 which came off 163 balls and included two sixes and 11 fours.

Friderichs remained unbeaten on 150, having faced 130 deliveries. He struck four maximums and 12 fours.

Reading didn’t help their own cause by conceding 47 extras, which included 22 wides and seven no balls.

A slow over rate also saw 10 penalty runs added to the Amersham total.

For Reading, it was then just a case of making a respectable reply on a turning wicket.

They finished on 220-8 with David Williams remaining unbeaten on 59, which came off 67 balls. Pav Chima was brilliantly caught one-handed by Friderichs in the slips when on 45, while Asim Zaka made 38 and Qasim Ali 22.

Amjad admitted: “It has been a tough start so far and it will probably continue to be a tough for a time, but we are not disheartened.

“We are a new team and still getting to know each other.

“But even after two games we are starting to show signs of gelling and there are some positives. For a start, I am encouraged by the spirit of boys, as that is good.

“We have players in our top five or six who are capable of producing some decent scores, but in terms of bowling and fielding, there is work to be done.”

Amjad has taken over the captaincy of a side that shows many changes from last season’s relegated one.

“It is a big challenge for me,” he said.

“I regard it is an honour as I have been at the club since I was seven.

“But it is new to me and I am learning the captaincy and how to set field placings to try to restrict the batsmen, when to attack and when to defend.

“It is all a learning process for me and for the rest of the boys.

“There is a lack of inexperience and that is showing at the moment, but from what I’ve seen so far I think it won’t be long before we find the ingredients for the right way to perform.

“I am hoping things will change once we play a few more games and I really believe we can soon start to string some decent performances together.”

This Saturday Reading visit league newcomers Great Brickhill.

  • READING 2nds won by 36 runs away to Beaconsfield 2nds in Thames Valley League Division 4a.

They looked in trouble at 100-7 before opener Rahul Bharti (89) and Anwar Whight (47) put on 104 for the eighth wicket, with the visitors finally finishing on 221-9 off 52 overs.

Whight then captured 4-56 off 13 overs as Beaconsfield were dismissed for 185 in the 45th over.

Chris Dishington had sensational figures of 8-18 off 11 overs as Reading 3rds shot out 10-man Yateley 3rds for a miserly 36 in Division 6b, of which 12 came from extras.

The visitors needed just 7.4 overs to reach their target without losing a wicket.

In Division 8a, Reading 4ths collapsed from 84-2 to 102 all out at home to Hayes 4ths, who replied with 104-5 in 22.4 overs.

Alvin Waterman, with 27, and Stuart Moulds, 21, were Reading’s top scorers, while youngsters Hayden Wood (2-11 off five) and Kishore Naha (1-12 off six) were the pick of the bowlers.

This coming Saturday, Reading 2nds and 3rds meet Eversley 2nds and Finchampstead 4ths respectively at Sonning Lane, while the 4ths are away to Kew 4ths.