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Ali fires Thatcham top

Reporter: Geoff Fletcher Chief Photographer

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ALI NAQVI'S second successive century fired Thatcham to the top of Thames Valley League Division One as Maidenhead and Bray were swept aside on Saturday.
Former Pakistan international Naqvi produced a batting masterclass by delivering an unbeaten 116 that included 19 fours and one six to ease Thatcham past Maidenhead's total of 168-9.
The 32-year-old all-rounder struck 113 last Saturday in his first match after returning for a third season at Thatcham and he is intent on making up for lost time after problems obtaining his Visa held up his arrival at the club.
“I am in great shape and I couldn't have asked for more today, I just want to help Thatcham get back into the Home Counties Premier League again,” he said.
Thatcham's promotion aspirations were certainly enhanced by this comprehensive victory as they moved joint top of the table with Amersham and Harefield by trouncing Maidenhead.
Naqvi showed his class with the ball to leave Maidenhead reeling on 26-4 in the 15th over as he grabbed three of the first four wickets with Pete Edgecombe taking the other.
Vishal Arjan (40) and Ryan Bezuidenhout (36) at least helped Maidenhead move past the century, but both fell to skipper Duncan Johnson, before Naqvi took care of the tail to earn figures of 5-42, Chris Bird chipping in with 1-30 as Maidenhead put just 168 on the board in 52 overs.
Thatcham had little trouble chasing the total after tea, but Naqvi was determined to ensure it was an early finish in the scorching sunshine as he punished any loose deliveries from the Maidenhead attack.
Naqvi's 19 fours and one six meant that 82 of his 116 runs came from boundaries as he dovetailed superbly with the steady Jim Ettridge (49 not out), the opening pair reaching the victory target with the minimum of fuss in just the 29th over.
The comfortable victory lifted Thatcham joint top with Amersham and Harefield also on 127 points.

- NEWBURY also moved to the top of their table after having Farnham Royal II all out for just 84 runs at Northcroft on Saturday. Skipper Charles Anstey led by example with five wickets to brush the visitors aside, before Newbury eased past the total in just 19.4 overs to go top of Thames Valley League Division Three A by four points.

- FALKLAND got the better of a Saturday stalemate at top-of-the-table Beaconsfield on Saturday by taking 14 points from the draw. Will Chaloner's 69 and a 54 from Khalid Zafar helped the visitors put on 221-10 in 56.4 overs, but Falkland fell two wickets short of clinching a vital victory in the end. The hosts hung in there to claim 10 points with 180-8 in 53 overs and fourth place Falkland now have 27 points still to make up on Beaconsfield at the top of Home Counties Premier League Division Two West.

- HUNGERFORD remain locked in mid-table of Hampshire County Division Two after a 12 runs defeat at Ellingham on Saturday. The visitors were all out for 189 in response to Ellingham's 201-9.

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