Newham College Cricket Academy continue to progress after another year of success
- Credit: Archant
Newham College Cricket Academy are celebrating another year of success after reaching two cup finals and winning a league title.
The academy, which is run and was originally set up by Zaheer Daleel, features both an under-19s team and a mixed age group team.
Daleel's mixed age group side won their outdoor league by going unbeaten, finished as runners-up in the indoor league and also made the Association of Colleges (AoC) national final.
Newham won through rounds based in London, Essex and the Midlands before beating Barton & Perevil to make it to the final against Middlesborough, only to fall short by 39 runs to finish as second in the country.
The under-19s also had success last season, reaching the Essex Cup final.
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Daleel is delighted with the achievements of the academy but insists it is about more than just cricket.
"It's been the best season we have ever had," he said. "The interest has grown and we've become successful.
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"We're trying to let people know that it's not just about the cricket, we also focus on personal responsibility and being role models in the community.
"We have players from about seven or eight countries. We've had players with disabilities, we're all inclusive and don't turn anyone away."
Daleel first started the cricket team nine years ago with a team of five after some interest was expressed in setting up a side.
It has since moved from strength to strength and the number of youngsters involved has grown considerably.
After winning the national title in 2016, the college is now in its second year of being an academy, which gives them the opportunity for more funding.
Daleel added: "We recently had our own awards ceremony. Players from eight years ago came, some of these guys have moved on to become police officers and most are at university.
"I'm very proud of that, the cricket has helped them along the way. They all still play cricket and some of them even get paid to play.
"Being an academy makes our cricketers more proud to be a part of it," concluded a delighted Daleel.