East London emerge as genuine contenders
East London Community are targeting championship glory following a dominant victory in the club's Victoria Park Community League debut
By JONATHAN CLEGG
League newcomers East London Community are targeting championship glory following a dominant victory in the club's Victoria Park Community League debut.
East London recorded a comfortable five-wicket win over Contenders in their first competitive fixture and currently top the Blue League ahead of the week's other winners, Tower Ravens and Tower Cavaliers.
Now club chairman Iqbal Miah believes East London are capable of qualifying for the top division in the league's Super Six phase and challenging for the title in the club's maiden campaign.
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He said: "If everyone is available and we play our strongest team, we do have quite a formidable line-up and we could challenge for the title.
"We've made a good start although we've probably got the hardest teams in our draw - Tower Ravens and Sky are always strong.
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"But we've trained all winter, so our batting line-up is in good form."
It was an impressive display with the ball that inspired East London's opening win as Sayeed Habib and Mohit Gupta tore through the top order to put Contenders on the back foot.
Contenders skipper Layton Worghs was the lone batsman to provide resistance as his innings of 47 anchored a disappointing total of 113 for four.
Despite the early run-out of Shakeel Ahmed, East London made short work of the run chase as Altaf Bhat made 54 not out and Ray Damaze ended unbeaten on 23 to see their side home with three overs to spare.
Tower Ravens also made a winning start to the season after 56-run triumph over Old Ranwellians.
Ravens batsman Amjal Afzal recorded an unbeaten half-century to help his side to an imposing total of 151 for five, while Ben Cleary took two for 13 to restrict Old Ranwellians to 95 for two in reply.
In a repeat of last season's Division Three title decider, Tower Cavaliers overcame Rose and Crown by four runs in a thrilling encounter.
Having won the toss and elected to field, Rose and Crown succeeded in removing openers Paul Johnson (16) and Kenneth Marshall (29), but Cavaliers took control with a strong partnership between Stephen Williams and Cain Duncan.
Skipper Williams struck two sixes in an unbeaten 46, while Duncan was run out for 43 in the final over as Cavaliers closed on 143 for three.
Rose and Crown batted steadily in reply, but disciplined bowling from Cavaliers debutant Abbas Rizvi (one for 21) ensured Rose and Crown needed 20 off the final eight balls, which proved narrowly beyond them.
Riv Monsell took all seven wickets as London Wanderers recorded a 75-run win to condemn Victoria Park Juniors to a second defeat of the season.
Howie Shearing top-scored for Wanderers with 38 while Luke Myers, Rob Morgan and Manas Saha each passed 20 to help bring up a total of 158 for four off 16 overs.
In reply, Scott Doody made a battling 34 but Victoria Park Junior proved unable to handle Monsell, whose figures of seven for 23 ensured a comfortable win for Wanderers.
London Tigers maintained their positive start to the season with a 32-run win against Pacific, who handed a debut to eight-year-old Luke Hollman.
Saiful Khan and Shahriai Mahmud both recorded unbeaten half-centuries as Tigers reached 158 for four in 16 overs and Pacific's hopes of overhauling the total suffered a fatal blow when a promising partnership between Peter Hollman (35) and Darren Tempany (34) was ended in the 11th over.
Bengal Tigers bounced back from an opening day defeat with a six-wicket win over Wrong'uns, whose total of 104 for four was anchored by Matt Wark (31) and Rich Gaffin (23).
Masiha recorded the league's biggest win of the season with a 100-run defeat of Martians as Raheel Shezad and Rizwan Siddiqui both made unbeaten half-centuries in a commanding total of 180 for two off 14 overs, before Martians slumped to 80 all out.