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Double defeat for Juniors on the slide

PUBLISHED: 17:28 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG VICTORIA Park Juniors fell to an agonising last-ball defeat against Caledonian Conquerors in the Victoria Park Community League Super Sevens this week. Juniors lost their opening match in the knockout round to Island last week and are i

By JONATHAN CLEGG

VICTORIA Park Juniors fell to an agonising last-ball defeat against Caledonian Conquerors in the Victoria Park Community League Super Sevens this week.

Juniors lost their opening match in the knockout round to Island last week and are in danger of failing to reach the finals following a second straight loss in a see-saw encounter at Victoria Park on Monday night.

Batting first, Juniors looked on course for a vital victory when they raced to 78 without loss as Jamshaid Mirza continued his impressive form with a swashbuckling innings in an aggressive opening stand with Scott Howes-Doody.

But Mirza was eventually caught on 40 and Howes-Doody swiftly followed for 16, leaving two new batsmen at the crease as Victoria Park's innings stalled.

Joe Fisher (30) and Soyfur Rahman (27) put on a half-century partnership but struggled to keep the run rate above seven an over before a late flurry of wickets saw Juniors close on 144-5 off their 16 overs.

The Conquerors also made a fast start to their reply, scoring 50 from their first five overs as Victoria Park's inconsistent bowling was punished.

Trevor Semper, who played in the Stanford Twenty20 tournament in January, led the way with an entertaining 51 and Caledonian needed just 20 to win from the final four overs.

But Bruno Gonta and James Panton managed to stem the flow of runs and when the match entered the final over, the Conquerors were still four runs from victory.

Soyfur Rahman's first three balls of the over yielded no runs and put the pressure on the Conquerors batsmen but an opportunistic piece of running tied the match with two balls left.

Rahman's first ball failed to produce a run but from the final ball of the match the Conquerors scampered the vital winning run to snatch a dramatic victory.

Victoria Park were also condemned to a 40-run defeat by Tower Ravens in the North East London League on Saturday but captain Joe Laurie insisted the team could be proud of their performance.

Juniors have struggled to adapt to the longer format of the 36 over game in their debut season in the league but they showed greater application and maturity at Millfields Park - collecting their highest score of the season.

"It doesn't look good on paper losing another game but long-term it's very encouraging," said Laurie.

"None of our players had played a game longer than 20 overs before this season so this is a transitional period for the club. We've still got a lot to learn but we can take a lot of pride from that performance."

On a flat wicket, Tower Ravens opted to bat first and scored 50 from their opening 10 overs before Laurie and Rofiqual Islam slowed the run rate.

Victoria Park were in with a shout when Ravens were on 88-2 at the halfway stage, but they piled on the runs in the closing stages as Irfan Kazmi bludgeoned 55 before being bowled by James Panton.

Dennis Fanus hit a quickfire 39 as Ravens notched up 69 runs from the final 10 overs to set Juniors an imposing total of 238 to win.

"Our bowling performance was good but we took our foot off the pedal in the last 10 overs and if we had kept it tight in that part of the game, it could have been quite a close finish," said Laurie.

Juniors got off to a shaky start as Fanus claimed the key wicket of in-form batsman Mirza.

But Fisher and Rofiqual Islam steadied the ship with a solid partnership of 76.

Panton (33) and Laurie (21) then added 45 to put Juniors within touching distance before a late slew of wickets left them 40 runs adrift on 197-9.

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