Newham College’s Cricket Academy finished runners-up last week in the Association of College’s National Cricket Finals.
Having won through rounds based in London, Essex and the Midlands, Newham joined 3 other teams to battle for the national title.
Teams representing the South West (Newham), South East (Barton & Perevil), North West (Bolton) and North East (Middlesbrough) all arrived in leafy Royal Leamington Spa to decide who would be the 2019 champions.
Boasting current Under-19 England international Dom Leech, Middlesbrough easily dispatched Bolton in the North Semi-final to make the final for the 3rd time in a row. This left Barton and Newham to decide who would represent the South and Newham edged a tightly-fought contest winning with just 5 balls to spare. Newham Captain Atesaam Syed was the star of the show scoring a majestic 55 runs and taking two wickets in a man of the match display.
Middlesbrough won the toss and decided to bat in perfect conditions as the National Final got underway. Newham’s bowlers struggled early on and with Leech looking imperious, Middlesbrough began to apply the pressure. Leech scored 74 but Middlesbrough were pegged back by Newham’s Off-spinner Haroon Khan, who finished with excellent figures of 3-21, the first innings total being 163 runs. Newham’s opening batsmen got off to a decent start but a high run-rate was very difficult to maintain and Newham began to lose wickets. Despite late efforts of Yeasin Arafat and Usama Khan, Newham could not find a way to reach their target and ended on 124 – losing by 39 runs.
And so a four-month journey came to an end with Newham College finishing 2nd in the country after an amazing season in which they won the league unbeaten and also reached an Essex Cup final.
Captain Atesaam Syed (IT Student) commented: “The boys are gutted but I’ve just told them we did our best, that’s all we can do and that’s all the coach has asked of us all season. We came up against a very good team with great pedigree. This whole competition has been great to be a part of, we enjoyed beating local teams but we’ve loved competing against teams from around the country. Despite the weather and travel chaos, the competition organisers and Newham College staff have done nothing but their best for us and we appreciate that.”
Cricket Academy Manager Zaheer Daleel said: “It’s been a great ride, we just fell short in the end but I’m so proud of the guys. They’ve had to deal with so much just to get here and in the end, they were too exhausted to compete at their best. It’s been a great season and they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved. A big thank you to the staff at Newham and the AOC for all their support.”