Chadhani remains confident as season approaches its climax

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Eastnor's Dave Waters. 1434_76008 (9614250)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Eastnor's Sunil Rahi. 1434_76009 (9614252)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC.Dave Waters batting for Eastnor. 1434_76002 (9614238)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Eastnor's Sunil Rahi. 1434_76007 (9614248)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Shahid Ahmed is bowled out. 1434_76001 (9614236)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Clive Chadhani batting for Eastnor. 1434_76003 (9614240)

Eastnor Cricket Club v Leamington Spa CC. Covers come on in the rain. 1434_76005 (9614244)

First published in Sport by

EASTNOR skipper Clive Chadhani remains confident that his side can stay out of danger in Division Two of the Birmingham League.

The villagers lost at home to Leamington Spa on Saturday and then saw their visit to relegation-threatened Halesowen rained off on Monday.

Eastnor, who are 20 points clear of the bottom two, now have just three games left to play, two of which are against promotion-chasing sides.

They host basement-club Water Orton on September 7 before winding up their season on September 14 at third-placed Penkridge but Chadhani is confident that they can obtain a good result at home to fourth-placed Stourbridge on Saturday.

"Stourbridge are in the promotion race but we know their strengths," said Chadhani. "We have home advantage and, with Atiq ur Rehman back in our side, it's a game I'm looking forward to.

"I'm more concerned about the Water Orton match," he added. "They are the sort of team that could pull off a surprise result."

Eastnor have endured a somewhat erratic season, at times on the fringe of the promotion race, at others looking over their shoulders at the teams near the foot of the table.

At the heart of their problems have been injuries to two of their key bowlers.

"Shahid Ahmed has had knee-ligament problems and we have missed his bowling for most of the last seven or eight games," said Chadhani.

"When he has been able to bowl, it has just been off a couple of steps in an attempt to give us some control at one end.

"Our other strike bowler Sajid Ali has been out for five matches with a shoulder injury,

"In addition, Atiq has been travelling back to Pakistan and has missed four matches, including the one last Saturday.

"But the positive thing is that it has all brought extra maturity to the young players in the side and we have pulled through the adversity well.

"I am quietly confident about the next few weeks and, with Shameer Ahmed, who is 15, and Sulyeman Shah, who is 16, we have two fine young players and signs of a good team coming through. The future is bright."

Despite losing Jabran Khalid early on, Eastnor made a good start with Chadhani (31) and opener Andrew Fisher (28) taking the score on to 65 before the second wicket fell.

Although there was a mini-collapse in the middle-order, steady scoring by the later batsmen, including Sunil Rahi (28) and Shameer (15) helped the score to mount to 200-8 from their 50 overs.

An interruption to the Eastnor innings due to rain brought a revised target for the visitors, who needed to chase 197 from 47 overs, reaching their goal with nine balls to spare.

Jabran, whose off-spin brought a return of 1-25 from 10 accurate overs, was the pick of the Eastnor attack.

"Leamington are a good side and are strong in all of the disciplines, batting bowling and fielding," said Chadhani.

"They paced their reply well but I was pleased with the way that we held them.

"They knew that they had been in a game and there were certainly times when their dressing room was very quiet."

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