Sport

Ashar crashes his way to new runs record

Accrington professional Ashar Zaidi has made history, breaking Bobby Simpson’s 54-year-old club record of 1,444 runs by the narrowest of margins.

Accrington professional Ashar Zaidi has made history, breaking Bobby Simpson’s 54-year-old club record of 1,444 runs by the narrowest of margins.

His Accrington side defeated Colne by eight wickets in the final game of the season, with Zaidi hitting the winning runs to become the new record holder.

Zaidi required 90 runs from the match to break the record, and at one stage the feat looked unlikely when he was 40 runs short with Accrington needing 48 more to win.

However, Zaidi was able to step up the pace and hit an unbeaten 91 to earn the new accolade and hand his team victory on the final day, with Accrington finishing on 144-2 in reply to Colne’s 142 all out.

Accrington captain Graham Lloyd singled Zaidi out as the main reason for the team’s success this season, calling his contribution outstanding.

Lloyd said: “Zaidi is at the peak of his powers at the moment and to be able to play with him this season has been an honour.

“He’s been sensational for us and it’s a shame that he won’t be playing for us next season. To see him break the club record in the final game was wonderful.

“It means a lot to him and it means a lot to the team too. He’s had three fabulous seasons here and I wish him well for the future.”

While Accrington may have won the league by a considerable distance, Lloyd believes next season will be even tougher, and he’s urging his players to make sure they don’t underestimate the competition.

Lloyd said: “It may have looked like we won the league easily but we didn’t, it’s been very tough, and I expect next season to be more of the same.

“Any team is capable of beating one another in this league and so we need to make sure we come back next season even stronger. We’ve got a good group of lads though so I’m confident that we’ll be able to do just that.”

One team hoping to come back even stronger next year will be Church.

They ended the season in fifth place but were on course to finish second if it hadn’t been for two defeats in their final two games.

They suffered defeat at Ramsbottom on the last day of the season, losing the match by seven wickets.

Church were bowled out for just 83, with Adam Greenwood top-scoring with 25 runs, one of just two players to score double figures. Rammy then eased to victory, losing just three wickets on course to reaching 84 inside 17 overs.

Despite suffering a disappointing defeat and missing out on the chance to finish in second place, Church captain Craig Fergusson believes that the season should still be deemed as a successful one.

Fergusson said: “There is nothing to take from the game with Ramsbottom. We were easily outplayed and that's about it.

“We may have missed out on second but it’s still important to remember how we were able to turn around our poor start to the season.

“After being near the bottom for the first part of the season, to then go on a 17-match unbeaten streak and even be in contention of coming second is a great achievement.”

Fergusson is already setting his sights on next season and is hopeful that Church will be one of the sides that will be challenging for the league title.

“Next season I’d like to think that we’ll be able to challenge for the title,” he added. “Most other teams see us as one of those teams that you expect to be up there and I agree with them.

“If we hadn’t started badly this season I see no reason why we couldn’t have been real title contenders.

“Next season we need to make sure that we hit the ground running and maintain consistency throughout the season.”

Enfield finished their campaign with a victory after beating Rawtenstall by six wickets in a weather-affected match.

Enfield finished on 127-4 in reply to Rawtenstall’s 171, but Enfield were awarded the victory after recording a faster scoring rate.

Hassan Fazal was the pick of the bowlers for Enfield, taking 3-22 in his 6.5 overs.

Rawtenstall’s professional Andrew Payne top-scored for his side, scoring 69 before being dismissed by Simon O’Loughlin.

Enfield opener Adam Bracewell passed 500 runs for the season before being caught LBW by Rizwan Shafiq on 19.

Shortly afterwards the teams were called off due to rain.

After a brief resumption, the rain returned and the sides were again taken off.

With the match unable to continue, Enfield only required a revised target of 115 from 28 overs, and with them having made 127 runs after their 28 overs, they were awarded the victory, meaning that they ended the season in eighth.

Rishton also ended their campaign with a win, defeating Bacup by eight wickets.

Bacup were first to bat and reached a total of 175-8 after 50 overs.

Rishton were able to ease to the target, requiring only 25 overs to reach 177-2.

Rishton professional Daniel Salpietro top-scored for them, scoring a quickfire 98 not out, falling just two runs short of a century.

Rishton’s victory means that they end the campaign in 12th position, having won just eight of their 26 games this season.