Cricket: Gidea Park to welcome back skipper Jamal Francis for Essex Division One clash at Hadleigh

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 August 2017

Jamal Francis is set to return for Gidea Park this weekend when they visit Essex Division One leaders Hadleigh (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Jamal Francis is set to return for Gidea Park this weekend when they visit Essex Division One leaders Hadleigh (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Park captain has missed last two league games, but is back ahead of vital run-in to the season

Gidea Park will welcome skipper Jamal Francis back this weekend for their trip to Hadleigh in Essex Division One.

The all-rounder has missed the past two league fixtures, including last weekend’s dramatic draw at home to Orsett.

In Francis’ absence, George Rogers has led Park, but the stand-in skipper revealed the regular captain is set to return to action on Saturday.

“Jamal is back and he’s a very important player for us, not just because he’s our captain, but also because of what he can do with bat and ball,” said Rogers.

“The past few weeks we’ve been a little unlucky with availability as we’ve been without Jamal, and also Matt Connaughton and Kafi Khan.

“Now we can welcome someone like Jamal back into the first team, that will give us a lift this weekend.”

As well as being boosted by the return of Francis, Park will also look to draw on a poor result for table toppers Hadleigh last weekend.

At home to Park’s relegation rivals South Woodford, Hadleigh were beaten by 17 runs.

And though it saw South Woodford climb above Park in the table, Rogers knows it will give the team confidence ahead of facing the league leaders.

“When we played Hadleigh in June, they batted second, but chased well and Kevin Renecke scored a ton for them, so we’re aware of their threats,” added Rogers.

“Hadleigh are a good side, but last weekend they were beaten by South Woodford who are only two points above us in the table.

“That’s something that will give us confidence. It will be tough on the road, but with so few games left, we know how important wins are at this stage.”

Gidea Park are currently bottom, though are just two points adrift of safety with five games left.

It could be argued Buckhurst Hill, who are second, could still be dragged into the relegation battle, with just 26 points separating them from the bottom two.

up, will go down to the wire.

“It’s amazing how tight it is, even at this late stage. If we were to win a couple of games in a row, we’d be in mid-table,” said Rogers.

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