• First major representative cricket in Newham for 30 years. 

• Essex Development XI beat East London XI in historic fixture.

First class representative cricket returned to Newham in style as more than 600 runs were scored on a glorious day at Flanders Field, East Ham. The Newham Cricket Festival, hosted by Newham Cricket Club, marked a significant milestone for cricket in the borough as an Essex Development XI took on an East London XI in the most prestigious cricket fixture in the borough since the likes of Graham Gooch and Nasser Hussain played there in Essex youth teams.

The Essex side – captained by Ashar Zaidi, the Essex all-rounder with 110 first-class games under his belt – ended up winners in a high-scoring encounter watched by scores of Newham’s young cricketers and local residents on Bank Holiday Monday (29 August). The fixture featured four former Newham CC colts who were among top scorers and wicket-takers.

Batting first, Essex scored quickly to reach 328-6 with Mo Alikhail (69), Nabeel Aziz (69) and Louis Pickering (58) their highest scorers. In reply, the East London XI batted valiantly, scoring 280-9 in response with Bilal Patel the pick of the batsmen scoring 59 off 93 balls.

The match was played as part of the Newham Cricket Festival which also saw free training for Newham youngsters, the Player of the Year awards for Newham Cricket Club’s U-8 to U15 colts’ teams, presented by East Ham MP Stephen Timms and the annual Newham Community XI v The Newham Clubs’ XI, narrowly won by the latter.

Richard Henchley, President of Newham Cricket Club, said: “Hosting this year’s bank holiday festival is a landmark moment for Newham Cricket Club. We now have access to top class facilities where next season the new second grass square will mean that we can field 4 Saturday adult teams. Our thanks to the ECB, Essex CCC, London Borough of Newham and the London Marathon Trust and Thames Water and other community supporters who have enabled us to bring top class cricket back to Newham.

In particular I want to welcome and thank the Newham Councillors and officers lead by Councillor Mukesh Patel who are participating in the Newham Community X! who have given us such unstinting support from our inception in 2009 until this historic moment. I should also like to recognise the contribution made by Tariq Aslam who manages our adult teams whose ambition it has been to bring representative cricket back to Newham and has himself prepared the ground today and Paul Dawson, our Colts’ manager who is an inspiration to so many young people.”

Dan Feist, Head of Cricket Operations at Essex County Cricket Board, said: “The Newham Cricket festival is the starting point of the next phase of the Unleashing of Cricket within the borough, the culmination of this day really is down to the whole community connecting together to Excite, Engage and Enhance an active lifestyle. This has been shown throughout Newham from the Schools programmes to the hugely successful College indoor league, to the new Girls programme at Lister and the Disability hub at NewVIc. The connection of all partners in the borough are really now working together to provide the opportunity to not only play but now to lead on inspiring the next generation to achieve their life goals.”

Stephen Timms MP added: “My congratulations to Newham Cricket Club and their volunteers who have made a real contribution to realising the potential for cricket in the Borough”

Cllr Forhad Hussain responded at the presentation of the Newham Festival Cup: “It was a wonderful & engaging day with the local Newham cricketing community coming together to show their passion for the game. Thank you to Newham Cricket Club for hosting the event and well done to everyone involved in organising the activities throughout the day. The event gave the opportunity to showcase Newham CC’s positive development over the last few years, including the recent enhanced facilities at the Club through the support of Essex CCC, ECB, Newham Council and other local community supporters such as Thames Water”

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