Thurrock CC 1st XI 267-7
Leyton County 1st XI 255-9
Umar Ayub ended Thurrock’s long wait for a league ton for the firsts to celebrate and despite a close finish, they gained the victory that Ayub’s wonderful knock so richly deserved.
Thurrock won the toss and batted first. Tony Hans continued in the fine form and aggressive manner he’s shown over recent weeks, getting Thurrock off to a flyer in the opening overs. His 31 was secured in double quick time and allowed Ayub to settle in at the other end. When Hans nicked one behind Ayub took over the innings with his flowing strokeplay unfolding on the flat blackshots track.
A watchful Abdul Stanikzai partnered him as the pair settled down to build on Thurrock’s rampant start. Stanikzai posted 26 before being trapped in front, but he also saw Ayub past his half century. Matt Hills then brought his experience to bear on proceedings, turning round the strike to allow Ayub to crash the ball to all areas of the park. The pair posted another fine partnership that too Thurrock well past 200 and shortly thereafter Ayub marked a special day for him as he brought up his hundred to a cacophony of applause.
With a handful of overs left Thurrock flung the bat. Ayub perished for 112 in the end but that didn’t stop Thurrock posting 267 as the tea interval arrived.
In truth these days 250 is a par score such is the quality of the Blackshots track and the speed of the outfield. Leyton County made an equally aggressive start with Surjeet Ubhi and Jo Pierre building a strong partnership and racing the visitors towards three figures.
Thurrock’s spin attack is young and still developing but again it was them who made the initial breakthrough. Steve Brooks’ left arm spin was probing and a brace of wickets, one of them Ubhi for 38, pegged back the initial momentum built by the visitors. Pierre continued in his explosive manner on his way to 50, but Thurrock’s young leggie, Ross Fullbrook, got the reward his persistence deserved. He drew Pierre into a fatal drive, pouched brilliantly at deep cover by Ayub, and then struck twice more on his was to 3 for 31.
But there was antoher twist in the tail. With 200 approaching, Asif took matters into his own hands, mowing drives and cuts to the fence, trying to win the game single handedly. It didn’t look as though it would be enough until number 10 Khan came to the crease and suddenly started launching the ball viscously over the fence on his way to a cameo 28 that resurrected Leyton’s failing hopes. But in the end, needing 16 from the last over, he was smartly stumped by Rhys Hymas and Asif’s unbeaten 55 wasn’t enough to stop Thurrock from claiming the points.