Bopara enjoys day at Hainault 'home'
PUBLISHED: 11:30 08 October 2015
Local lad back at where it all started for benefit event with James Foster and Ronnie Irani alongside him
Essex and England’s Ravi Bopara was back at his old stomping ground on Saturday for a benefit event at Hainault & Clayhall and the long day went brilliantly.
The 30-year-old began his career at the Oakfield outfit, joining them in 1995 and playing in all forms of colts and indoor cricket.
Fittingly he was back there to continue his successful benefit year and it was a long, enjoyable day for all involved.
Arfan Akram, who has been involved in Bopara’s benefit year, praised the whole day.
He said: “It was really good. It was a long day because we had an early start, but all in all it was a really successful event.
“It was a no-brainer to get Hainault involved and Ravi always wanted to go back to a place where he classes everyone as his family.
“The morning was all about junior cricket and loads of mini matches as we had Hainault, Wanstead, South Woodford, Ilford and a few other clubs involved.
“After that Ravi rocked up and had a bit of time to share his experiences to the mini Ravis!”
The action wasn’t finished there as a decent Essex team played against a Hainault side combining players from past and present.
It was a close-run thing, but half centuries from Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate helped the Essex XI achieve victory.
Akram added: “We had an Essex side take on a Hainault team full of past and present, so quite a few people picked up the bat for the first time in a little while!
“Ravi and ‘Tendo’ played as did James Foster, Graham Napier and a few of the academy lads, so it was really good and Essex won.
“The third part of the event was meeting with people that were involved and we had a sit down dinner. It was chaired by Essex’s new cricket committee chairman Ronnie Irani and chaired very well I should add.
“He was an excellent MC for the event and we had Ravi and James sit down for a Q&A session, which was a mixture of good humour as well as some insightful cricket questions about their journeys in the game. All in all it was a great day.”
Essex have also confirmed that local youngster Aron Nijjar has signed his first professional contract with the club.
The 21-year-old left-arm spinner, who progressed through the ranks at Ilford, will remain with the Eagles until 2017.
More good news coming out of Essex this week was confirmation that former Oak Park High School pupil Jamie Porter is one of six fast bowlers to have been selected to take part in the Potential England Performance Programme (PEPP) this winter for their tour of South Africa.
Elsewhere Redbridge and Oakfield Parkonians D played out a remarkable match in the six-a-side Indoor Cricket Essex League on Saturday.
Redbridge posted 235-4 from their 12 overs and then bowled out Old Parks for just 42 to win by 193 runs. A stunning victory!