ZOHAIB Ahmed came agonisingly close to a century for Slough in their rain-affected Home Counties Division One game at Finchampstead on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

He was on 99 when he lofted a catch into the safe hands of Matt Carter off the bowling of Dan Marles.

Ahmed was not the only batsman among the runs, with Shaan Khan making 72 and Lloyd Paternott 46 as Slough finished with a respectable 272-7 off 64 overs.

In reply, Finchampstead were on 164-3 off 37 overs when a heavy downpour, which only affected parts of Berkshire, led to the game being abandoned as a draw.

Slough had elected to bat first on what looked a good batting strip.

They soon lost Fahim Qureshi who had just made a single when he was bowled by Jandre Coetzee in the third over.

Then, with the score at 30, Shazad Rana was caught for 11 when Carter was brought into the attack.

Slough then settled in well, forcing the home side to make regular changes to their attack.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Lloyd Paternott made 46 for Slough at Finchampstead.

Ahmed and Paternott lifted the score to 115 by the 35th over, when the latter was bowled by Marles just four short of a half-century.

Khan and Ahmed put on 112 in 24 overs to see 227 runs on the board before the former fell to Marles for a well-constructed 72.

Skipper Bobby Sher departed for 19 before Ahmed pulled Marles to mid-wicket, where he was caught by Carter.

Medium-pacer Marles was the pick of the eight bowlers used, finishing with 4-51 in 12 overs.

Home openers Andrew House and Greg Smith made a steady start, but in the seventh over, Ahmed bowled the former for 18 with the total on 30.

Skipper Marles joined Smith and the pair took the total to 98 when the former was caught and bowled by spinner Ali Akbar for 39.

Then Steve Green trapped Billy Rogers leg before wicket to leave the reigning league champions on 101-3 in 22 overs.

Smith (71*) and Dan Lincoln (26*) advanced the score to 164 by the end of the 37th over, but rain started to fall steadily and it led to the match being abandoned as a draw.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Slough star hits out at Finchampstead.

The Slough wicket-takers were Ahmed, with 1-30 off seven overs, Green 1-31 from 11 Raja 1-60, also off 11.

It was a disappointing ending for both sides, as the game could have gone either way although the hosts probably slightly better placed to have won.

Slough finished with 10 points and slip one place to eighth in the table, now having drawn three games in a row.

This Saturday the league reaches its half-way stage with Sher’s side facing leaders Henley at Upton Court Road.

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