Umpire strikes back as Ducks cruise into semi-finals
Test match umpire Aleem Dar swapped his position behind the stumps for a spell at the crease as The Ducks reached the last four of the Victoria Park Community League Cup
By JONATHAN CLEGG
Test match umpire Aleem Dar swapped his position behind the stumps for a spell at the crease as The Ducks cruised into the last four of the Victoria Park Community League Cup.
Dar, 41, who stood in the opening Test of this summer's Ashes series at Cardiff, produced a stunning all-round display in a guest appearance for the Ilford side, who reached the semi-finals with a 38-run win over championship rivals Island Community.
Batting first, Ahmed Farooq smashed an unbeaten 53 as the Ducks amassed a daunting 182 for three off 16 overs, with Sibet Hussain adding 39 not out and Dar contributing 37 before his dismissal by Island skipper Tanjeem Chowdhury.
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And leg-spinner Dar later starred with the ball, claiming three for 31 as Island were bowled out for 144, despite fine knocks from Mo Rahman (49 not out), Rob Jones (27) and Kirk Fleming (24).
"We've got good contacts with the Pakistan Cricket Board and we found out Aleem was available to play for us - he'd seen our results on the Victoria Park League website and was very impressed," said Ducks skipper Zia Hussain.
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"He's a great leg-break bowler and he managed to get some real turn out of the pitch, which is quite an achievement on Victoria Park.
"We didn't ask him to umpire because we figured that standing for five days in a row must be quite tiring, but we were tempted to ask for his light meter when it started raining. He must've left it at Lord's."
The outcome ended Island's 16-match unbeaten run in all competitions but secretary Steve Hill revealed that the Isle of Dogs club will bid to avenge the defeat by edging Ducks for the Division One crown.
Hill said: "We'll give them the Cup - but we want the league."
The Ducks will meet Sky in a mouth-watering semi-final clash after the reigning league runners-up eliminated last-eight opponents Victoria Park Juniors in a 45-run triumph.
Opener Aleem Hussain helped Sky make a lightning start with a blistering half-century that included 10 fours as the Clapton outfit raced to 101 after eight overs.
Jem Carter's spell of two for 34 helped slow the assault, but Imran Khan's unbeaten 48 and a quick-fire 27 from Rizwan Siddiqui helped Sky reach 196 for five off their 16 overs.
Needing to score at 12 an over for an unlikely victory, Juniors made a fine start as Mehdi Abbas struck a rapid 50 not out.
But Jamshaid Mirza was dismissed for 25 when scoring freely and despite valuable contributions from Khalid Ahmed (31) and Joe Fisher (25), Hassan Mohammed took two for 24 to restrict Juniors to 151 for three and seal a comfortable victory for Sky.
Amir Khan produced a sublime individual contribution to send Caledonian Conquerors into the semi-finals as his unbeaten hundred inspired an emphatic 149-run win over Tufnell Parkians.
Khan struck a six off the final ball of the Caledonian innings to reach 100 not out - the first century in the league this year - and propel his side to 183 for six after a middle-order collapse.
Having started in positive fashion through openers Ali Mohammed (24) and Sajid Rehman (19), Conquerors crumbled from 58 without loss to 62 for five following the loss of five wickets for just four runs.
Yet Khan hit back with an unbeaten fifty and returned to the crease after two more wickets to smash a further 50 runs in a magnificent last-wicket stand with Rick Davies.
Tufnell's reply began in disastrous fashion as Waqar Ali claimed two wickets with his first two deliveries on his way to figures of three for nine as Parkians were skittled for 34 to seal Caledonian's biggest win of the season.
Conquerors will meet Contenders in the other semi-final following an emphatic win over London Tigers.
Solid bowling by Contenders saw Tigers dismissed for 109, despite a fine innings of 42 from Ruhel Ahmed.
Opener Dee Alexander top-scored with 44 not out in reply as Contenders raced to a seven-wicket win with eight overs to spare.
In the league, Chris Connell's 41 helped London Wanderers secure a tight two-wicket win over Pacific, for whom fine knocks from Lucius Faisal (48) and Rob Bastin (41) in a total of 139 for five proved in vain.
Dan Heaphy's top score of 40 and a late flurry from Sam Wildy (38) saw Rose and Crown secure a 72-run win over Wrong'uns. Dave Monaghan, Pat Heaphy and Tim Standley took two wickets apiece as Wrong'uns slumped to 87 all out in reply.
Wolfgang Floyde's unbeaten 43 helped Victoria Lounge cruise to a six-wicket win over Martians, who had earlier been dismissed for just 68 in seven overs following a fine spell of two for 12 from Dan Bird.