Saturday afternoon brought a mixed set of results for the Club, with two wins, two defeats and a draw from the five games played.
At Southchurch Park the 1st XI fell to defeat in their clash with Southend on Sea & EMT. After the early loss of Farid Butt Upminster recovered well as Kiran Kullar and Louis Pickering compiled a half century partnership. Pickering fell for 25 but Kullar and the in form Shahbaz Butt then put on a century for the third wicket. Kullar made 58 and Shahbaz made 74 as Upminster passed the 200 mark, and some late runs from Harry Jenkins, Nathan Woods and Tom Daniels saw the visitors to what looked like a healthy total of 234-9 from their 50 overs. In reply Numan Khan and Carl Lees started well against Upminster’s attack and they went on from there, putting on 180 for the first wicket before Lees was bowled by Shaffiq Rahman for 87. Khan remained to the end, finishing on 79 not out, and with Phil Gray finishing unbeaten on 43 Southend won by nine wickets with plenty of time to spare.
The 2nd XI continued their consistent start to the season with another draw, their fourth in a row, against Ilford at Upminster Park. On a warm afternoon Paul Middlemiss (41) and James Evans (42) put on 85 for the first wicket as the home side made a positive start. They quickly fell to 93-3 though as Ilford fought back, but an excellent partnership between Josh Lamont (45) and Rob Mack (20) put Upminster back on top. With Lamont striking the ball sweetly it looked like Upminster may set a very large total, but he and Mack fell in successive overs to spinners Kamaljit Singh and Robin Bansal as Upminster then slid to 189-9. Stu Connor then produced his best knock for the club to date as he struck several boundaries and with Ellis Pickering for support Upminster regained control. Connor smashed the last two balls of the innings for six to finish on 45 not out and take his side to 229-9. In reply Pickering, Max Carter Miller and captain Billy Wright all picked up an early wicket to leave the visitors 58-3 but Qasim Akbar (77) and skipper Maz Malik (41) put Ilford on top. They looked set to take their side to victory before Pickering removed Akbar and Mark Schofield produced an excellent spell (2-26) to halt Ilford’s progress, and it was they who ended up batting time for the draw to finish on 198-7.
Upminster claimed the local bragging rights in the 3rd XI derby against Hornchurch at Coopers School. Steve Limn and Mike Larke made a solid start for the home side, but it was an excellent innings from veteran Peter Thompson that pushed Upminster towards a challenging total. He made 59 and received good support from Will Frost as Upminster made 203-8 before declaring two overs early, a decision that would later prove to be a masterstroke from captain Ollie White. The evergreen Andy Berry picked up two early wickets in reply but Ted Coney made 58 to keep Hornchurch in the game. Hornchurch veteran Richard Burd then looked to be taking his side to victory as he upped the run rate with a succession of boundaries, but Ant Limn stepped up for Upminster. He came into the attack and took a remarkable 5-24 from 5.2 overs to put his side on top as Hornchurch slid to 160-9. Burd remained though and last man Alex Brown stuck with him to take the score to 185 before he was run out for ten to give Upminster a win by 18 runs.
The 4th XI fell to defeat at Billericay 3s. Ian Munn (45) and captain Stewart Hammond made a good start for Upminster, but when Hammond was run out the innings lost momentum. Gary Carr (37) continued his excellent form but nobody else made double figures as Upminster were bowled out for 131. Will Bottoms picked up an early wicket as Billericay began their chase, but William Dale and Sanjeev Sood then steadily chipped away at the total. They both fell before the end, to Callum Berry and Kevin Roome respectively, but the home side coasted to a seven wicket win with plenty of overs in hand.
The best performance of the day came from the 5th XI, as Alex Bottoms’ side claimed their second win of the season. The four man Upminster attack of Shreyansh Shah, Karim Govani, Aalok Latey and Brian Martin all picked up wickets as Brentwood slipped from 63-4 to 92 all out. Ruku Sultan made 44 for Brentwood. Mark Hortop then got the Upminster chase off to a positive start, and although two wickets fell Hortop made 45 not out as Upminster won by eight wickets.
The Sunday League side made it two wins from two on Sunday as they saw off Benfleet by seven wickets. Josh Lamont continued his good start to the season as he claimed five wickets to help restrict Benfleet to 177-9 after they had made a fast start to their innings. In reply it was Nathan Woods who led the charge, and his half century helped Upminster to a comfortable win.
Dave Brown’s Friendly XI made it six wins from six with victory at Bentley. Stewart Hammond top scored with an excellent 66, and there were double figure contributions from Alex Bottoms, Ian Munn, Nathan Brown and Ryan Brown before Callum Berry struck a brilliant unbeaten 41 to hoist the Upminster total to 229-4 from 40 overs. Ollie Gordon and Nick Binnell put Bentley into a good position as they began their chase, but Will Bottoms and Dave Brown (4-32) pegged them back and they were dismissed for 165 to leave Upminster victors by 64 runs.