A defiant campaign from the UEL cricketers saw them shrug off all the sides in the BUCS tier three league, with relative ease to clinch promotion and a perfect season.
The year kicked off against Essex University at Overton Drive in Wanstead. UEL were dominant with the ball, dismissing Essex for a disappointing 50 all out, with David Booth taking 3-11 off his eight overs assisting Haroon Qadoos who bowled superbly, picking up three wickets for only five runs. UEL comfortably chased down the target with captain Ali Wood and Mark Barrell taking control of the game, leading UEL to their first victory by 10 wickets.
The next game saw UEL up against Greenwich University at Nutter Lane. UEL tore apart the Greenwich attack with quality batting displays from all the batsman but the top three batsman; Ali Wood, Mark Barrell and Foster all got hundreds dismantling the Greenwich bowlers, who were hopeless towards the end of the innings. In reply, Greenwich only managed to get 90 runs, mainly because of an attacking spell from Ahmed Butt who was rewarded with six wickets for his efforts.
The first away game of the season against Kingston, proved little test for UEL bowling out Kingston for 57 in 28 overs. The pick of the bowlers was Haroon Qadoos who removed four Kingston Batsman in his seven overs, which also consisted of two maidens. UEL lost three wickets in their runs chase, but Ahmed Butt repelled any nerves and lead his team to victory with 21*.
In early June, Usman Sahar shone with bat and ball in the game against City University , top scoring with 60 runs and picking up two wickets for 12 runs. Ahmed Butt once again chipped in with four wickets. A controlled and assured performance with ball from UEL, meant that’s City couldn’t get close to UELs impressive total of 306, only managing to get 168 in their innings.
The final game of the season gave the unrivalled University of East London side the opportunity to go a season unbeaten and clinch promotion from the third tier. Speaking before the game Captain Ali Wood said, “We are extremely excited to be in a position to gain promotion and to do it unbeaten all season will be very special.”
UEL’s opposition was Queen Mary university and skipper Ali Wood lead his team with a high class ton before being caught out. There were also valuable contributions from Mark Barrell and Ahmed Butt who along with Wood managed a strong score of 298-9 from their 50 overs. The pressure was on to the UEL bowlers who all stood up to the task and picked up a wicket. The pick of this ever reliable attack, on this occasion was Shahid Nasser who dismissed three Queen Mary batsmen for only 12 runs in his five overs. UEL captured the division in style bowling out their opponent for only 79 runs winning by 218 runs.
The emphatic season from UEL was summed up by captain Ali Wood who steered his team to victory with a big hundred, “All the guys have shown their class over these five games, and hopefully everyone will come back next year even hungrier for success.
Despite the dominance shown this year by UEL, they face tougher tasks next year, when competing in the BUCS tier two.This season showed promise for what is to come from this confident and skilled team.
Michael McArdle, Trinity Catholic High School