Search

Sky's the limit as champions Goodmayes drop out

PUBLISHED: 14:56 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 05 October 2010

Sky captain Rizwan Siddiqui believes the new Victoria Park Community Cricket League season will be the most open championship in years

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Sky captain Rizwan Siddiqui believes the new Victoria Park Community Cricket League season will be the most open championship in years after double winners Goodmayes were forced to withdraw from the upcoming campaign.

Title holders and cup winners Goodmayes opened the new season by slipping to a seven-wicket defeat against a President's Select side on Monday night, but will not be competing in the remainder of the competition following the loss of two key players.

And Sky skipper Siddiqui, who was last month named league chairman for the forthcoming season, insists the absence of last season's champions has thrown this year's title race wide open.

"It's a shamewe've lost Goodmayes but they had real issues with availability last year and now they've lost a couple more players, so they didn't feel they could get through a full season," he said.

"But it means that anyone can win it this year. Goodmayes were a new team last year - they had played in the cup competitions previously and won it the year before, but last year was their first in the league.

"And they managed to win the league and the cup in their first season, so it's even possible for a new team to come in and win the title."

Siddiqui admits that the league's fast and furious format also makes it difficult to pick a championship favourite.

The Victoria Park League is set up in a similar vein to the Twenty20 phenomenon, although each match is 16 overs-a-side and teams are made up of just eight players.

"It really is crash-bang-wallop cricket. We're kind of a pre-cursor to Twenty20 actually - we've been going for 18 years and it's a similar format.

"But one of the things about the 16-over game is that it can turn on a single over. If you get a couple of decent players in good form, they can very quickly turn a match on its head."

In such a fast-flowing version of the game, experience is crucial ("You can always tell the new teams in the league because their fielders tend to be in no-man's land - in our game, you're either saving one [run] or saving four," Siddiqui says) and the Sky skipper is optimistic that his side can regain the title this year.

The Clapton-based outfit, originally known as Mola Jutt, have been crowned champions five times in the past decade and were double-winners two years ago, although Siddiqui admits they will face a battle to return to title-winning form.

"We like to think we're the Manchester United of the league, but Island gave us a really good game last year, we lost to Victoria Park Juniors, and Caldeonian Conquerors and Tower Ravens are always strong. It looks very competitive."

Indeed, matches in the league's top division can become so fiercely contested that Vallance Bow last year resorted to recruiting a high-profile signing in a bid to maintain their title challenge.

The Tower Hamlets outfit fielded Bangaldesh star Enamul Haque Jr in their match against Sky - although Siddiqui reveals that the league's astroturf wicket negated much of the bowler's superior quality.;

"Victoria Park's a great leveller - there's only six fielders in the outfield, so it was just a matter of watching the ball and giving it a tonk," he recalls.

Full coverage of the first round of matches in the Victoria Park Community Cricket League begins next week.

Latest East London Sports News

Former Hammers boss returned to the London Stadium to mastermind West Brom's FA Cup win

Yesterday, 17:03

Leyton Orient claimed three vital points with an overdue League Two victory at Brisbane Road on Saturday.

Yesterday, 10:53

Leyton Orient goalkeeper Dean Brill has retired from playing football and will now join the cliub's first-team coaching staff alongside Ross Embleton, Danny Webb and Jobi McAnuff.

Yesterday, 09:13

England will enter the 2020 Guinness Six Nations with a united squad after addressing any grievances over Saracens' salary cap scandal, described by Jonny May as the "elephant in the room".

Fri, 13:00

Jacob Ranson is joined by Dave Evans and Dan Bennett to discuss West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Dagenham & Redbridge and the latest in non-league football.

Fri, 12:00

Leyton Orient midfielder Josh Wright is determined to give the O's faithful something to cheer about when they take on Newport County this weekend.

Fri, 08:00

Leyton Orient are still hoping for new signings ahead of their League Two clash with Newport County this weekend.

Hammers slip closer to the drop zone after four-some Foxes see them off

PROMOTED CONTENT

Cauldron Foods' comedy night will give vegans the last laugh as Vegan comics dispel vegan myths.

Riverside flats to let are coming on the market in East London - at highly competitive rents. Too good to be true? A not-for-profit landlord explains how it works…

It's now just under a month since All Points East took over Victoria Park with two weekends of world-class music and a programme of free community events.

Most read sport

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser