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Atiq Ur Rehman back to form as Eastnor get winning draw with Water Orton
ATIQ Ur Rehman’s return to form with the bat spearheaded Eastnor to a winning draw in a rain-affected Birmingham League Division Two clash with Water Orton.
The overseas star produced an excellent innings of 99 before picking up a sharp slip-catch and taking 3-17 with his leg-spin in the visitors’ response.
A heavy downpour during the Eastnor innings cut around 90 minutes and 25 overs out of the action and presented home skipper Clive Chandhani with the tricky decision of how to time his declaration.
But his decision to close the innings after 50 overs would probably have been ideally timed but for a couple of dropped chances in the Water Orton reply.
Chadhani had elected to take first use of the pitch after winning the toss and Eastnor put some of their recent problems with the bat behind them as they got away to a great start.
Atiq, who was promoted to open the innings, set the tone in partnership with Jabran Khalid and the pair took the total towards the century mark before Jabran was dismissed for 41. His brother, Faisal Khalid, came in at three and was also batting well when the weather interruption came with the Eastnor score at 154-1 after 41 overs.
A major mopping-up operation followed to get the wicket surrounds fit for the resumption.
But with the covered pitch unaffected when play got under way again, Atiq and Faisal were able to get the score moving quickly.
“Faisal and Atiq quickly took the score towards the 200-mark before both were out,” said Eastnor’s Malcolm Hughes. “Atiq was batting for the side and was caught at at deep mid-wicket when he was on 99. Faisal also got to the 50-mark before he was dismissed.”
Josh Emery added a quick 13 before Chadhani opted for the declaration with his side on 215-4 at the end of the 50th over.
The Birmingham League rules required that Water Orton would have to pass Eastnor’s total to gain a win, always unlikely in the 35 overs remaining, although the 167 they required for a winning draw looked a possibility at the outset. Eastnor, for their part, had to restrict the visitors to 134 or less for a 10-point winning draw and this looked unlikely at the outset as Shahid Ahmed picked up early wickets.
“The only time that Water Orton looked like having a threat was when Paul Bedford was at the crease,” said Hughes. “He looked very comfortable against our spinners and hit sixes off them. While he was there, Water Orton had a chance of reaching at least the winning draw target but Shahid came back and bowled him with the first ball of a new spell for 35.”
From that point, Eastnor were back in control and, but for a couple of dropped catches, would have gained the win rather than a winning draw.
Shahid finished with 5-27 with the other three wickets going to Atiq as the visitors’ innings closed on 101-8.
Eastnor remain in sixth position in the table, 30 points behind Water Orton who are third in the table.
An unexpected visitor to Clenchers Mill Lane on Saturday was England footballer Gareth Barry who has connections in the Water Orton camp.
The Manchester City midfielder is on the countdown to the new Premier League season which gets underway on August 18.
“He seemed a very friendly man and interacted really well with the children at the ground,” said Hughes.