Burnham's sorry start to season summed up by capitulation against Horspath

Karan Kumar

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From a position of strength, Burnham capitulated to another disappointing defeat on Saturday, losing by three-wickets to Horspath at the Memorial Ground, and skipper Rizwan Nadeem said afterwards it kind of summed up their summer so far.

His side sits bottom of Home Counties Division 2, nearly 30 points from safety after losing all six of their league games to date.

However, on Saturday they threw away a very presentable chasing of picking up their first win after collapsing from 182-3 to 193 all out in the space of a few overs. They also had Horspath at 157-7 in their reply but weren’t able to take the last few wickets they needed in a game where momentum fluctuated wildly.

Reflecting on the game, and his side’s disappointing start to the season, Nadeem said it felt like his team were in control for 80 per cent of the time but were ‘absolutely destroyed’ during the other 20 per cent.

“Saturday showed what our season has been about,” said Nadeem. “Getting into good, winning positions, and then we’ve just given it away. I think that maybe with a bit of luck our fortune will change.

“All of our games have been competitive so far. It’s not like we’ve been battered in any of the games.

“On Saturday, I feel like 80 per cent of the game belonged to us and in the other 20 per cent we were completely destroyed.”

Burnham were going along nicely with Karan Kumar (54) and Nadeem at the crease, but then their afternoon imploded in spectacular style as seven wickets were lost for the addition of 11 runs.

“We said that with seven wickets in hand we could look to get to 250-260,” he said. “But the next thing we knew we’d lost seven wickets for hardly any runs. It was a pretty bad collapse.

“But even after that we were in a strong position to win with the ball. There was a momentum swing definitely, but we did have them at 161-7. The spinners brought it back massively for us and then we dropped a crucial catch, and their number nine went on to score 31 not out. It was a tough one to swallow.”

Despite their disappointing start to the season and their inability to grind out results, Nadeem believes the switch to the longer format could suit his side in the coming weeks. While the side is starting to get cut adrift at the bottom, the gap can still be bridged with a couple of decent results.

“This is a crucial stage of the season for us,” he said. We lost on Saturday, but we still got nine points out of it. If we can accumulate a couple of wins, we’ll be right back in it. There’s only six games gone and that’s just a third of the season.

“Three wins from our next five games and we’ll be right back up there. I do feel we’ve had a bad run of luck. We play Wokingham on Saturday, so it doesn’t get any easier for us, but we’re usually at our best when we’re underdogs.”

To add to their misfortune, it looks like Burnham won’t be able to call on an overseas player this summer.

“Our overseas player got stuck at the airport because he tested positive for Covid,” said Nadeem. “He was travelling from Pakistan which is on the red list.

“ He then travelled to Turkey to come here via an alternative route, but then that was placed on the red list, and this sort of bad luck has been present from the start of the season. We’re hoping things will turn around.”

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