Alan Ison: Upminster Cricket Club will not switch off in Essex League Division One, despite derby triumph over Harold Wood Cricket Club

PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 August 2016

Upminster captain Alan Ison (left) looks on from the boundary (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Upminster captain Alan Ison (left) looks on from the boundary (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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Leaders host side struggling at the bottom, but will not underestimate them and know they must play best cricket to win again

Upminster may be on the verge of promotion to the Essex League Premier Division, but captain Alan Ison will not allow his team to take Fives & Heronians lightly.

The Division One rivals are set to go head-to-head tomorrow (Saturday), with both desperate to get points for different reasons.

Ison’s men are top, clear of nearest challenger Orsett by 46 points, while Fives are in the bottom two with just three victories to their name.

Two of those triumphs have occurred back-to-back in recent weeks to give the visitors belief ahead of travelling to Upminster.

“Fives have won their last two games and got over 300 in both, so they are playing some very good cricket,” warned Ison.

“I know their overseas player Fahad Iqbal is doing well now and he didn’t play against us earlier in the campaign.

“We need to be on top of our game to get another result, but we are confident and all the boys are ready.”

Saturday’s match is the final 50-over clash of the season, before the format reverts to all-day cricket.

Upminster have won seven of their eight matches in the limited-over format and Ison is hoping they can keep up that record this weekend.

He added: “We can’t take any team lightly, we have seen so many times already this year that everybody can beat everybody in the division.

“We need to play our best cricket again and if we do that hopefully we get another victory which will take us a step closer to the title.

“It is the last 50-over match of the season and we’ve only lost one of those games so far. If we can get another win on Saturday – to come through that format with just one defeat is a great record.”

At times last weekend it looked like Upminster would taste defeat at local rivals Harold Wood after a thrilling encounter.

Ison won the toss and batted first, but watched his two openers depart quickly to Richard Brabner (2-55) and Shahbaz Khan (4-27) – who both shone for the hosts.

Upminster’s captain went for a golden duck, his second in a row, but 83 by Shahbaz Butt and an unbeaten 57 from Harry Jenkins helped the home side post 226-7.

“It was a very good performance on Saturday, but we started poorly with the bat again like we have done a few times recently, so that was a slight negative,” added Ison.

“Our top-order have got us off to some strong starts this season so it is just the way it goes sometimes. We have a good batting line-up so even when we lost a few wickets, I always felt we could get a strong total.

“We basically bat all the way down and it showed again at the weekend just how strong our batting is.”

Harold Wood openers Raihan Hussain (37) and Islam Shihan (22) got the hosts off to a strong start, before Matt Tigg (2-24) and John Curtis got rid of the pair.

Khan added 25 in the middle-order, but Connor Whetstone then got to work and claimed 3-37.

Upminster reduced the home side side to 160-9 and looked to have the victory all wrapped up, but Brabner had other ideas.

Wood’s captain smashed a run-a-ball 62 to help them reach 213, before Curtis (3-31) had him caught to give the visitors a 13-run success.

Ison added: “Richard batted really well and at one stage it looked like the game was over, so he did fantastic to get them so close. We got them nine down and he stuck around, but John come back to get the key wicket.”

Harold Wood travel to Loughton this weekend.

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