Majid Ashraf rules North Maidenhead CC out of Thames Valley Cricket Division 2a title race
By Rob Stevens • Published 7 Aug 2012 09:57 0 Comments
North Maidenhead CC captain Majid Ashraf in action against Eversley earlier this year.
MAJID Ashraf insists North Maidenhead CC have over-achieved this season before ruling out a shot at the Thames Valley Division 2a title.
North Maidenhead remain third - and within striking distance of runaway leaders Datchet - despite a heavy eight-wicket loss against Finchampstead 2nd XI at Summerleaze Road on Saturday.
The hosts set a target of 223-9 thanks to an unbeaten half-century from Wassim Ahmed (55*) but Finchampstead had little trouble knocking off the runs, losing just two wickets with Mark Sheppard smashing 138 and Lance Stewart seeing the visitors home on 74 (not out).
North Maidenhead captain Ashraf told the Observer: "Wassim batted really well. We were 100-6 at one stage but he helped put on 70-80 for the next wicket.
"It was a good score but we were missing our two main bowlers and that weakened us.
"Mark Sheppard batted really well for his hundred and it was just one of those days.
"We got 223 on the board and fancied it but they are fighting relegation and were obviously up for it too."
The Summerleaze Village-based team can still overhaul Datchet with five matches remaining but Ashraf believes that particular challenge is a step too far this summer - preferring instead to run the rule over some of his younger players.
He continued: "We've given up on our title push but we've had a great season.
"We're one of only a few teams without an overseas player so we've done really well to still be challenging this late in the year.
"Datchet look too strong and I can't really see them being beaten.
"There are fine margins, if we had beaten them a fortnight ago we would be top this week - but we just fell short (49-run defeat).
"We are going to give the youngsters a go and give them some exposure with an eye to starting to build for next season."
North Maidenhead travel to fifth-placed Basingstoke & North Hants 2nd XI this Saturday (1pm start) start looking to improve upon the winning draw earnt from their last meeting in June.
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