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Harold Wood step into unknown

17:00 09 May 2014

Harold Wood celebrate gaining promotion to the Essex Premier Division

Harold Wood celebrate gaining promotion to the Essex Premier Division

Archant

Club set for Premier Division debut

Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke admits his side will be going into unknown territory when they make their Essex League Premier Division bow against Brentwood tomorrow (Saturday).

Wood won promotion to the top tier of Essex club cricket for the first time in their history last season, but although they have played several sides in different cup competitions before, Clarke knows the league season is a completely different kettle of fish.

“We’ve played a lot of the sides in cup competitions and in friendlies as well over the years, but it is a leap into the unknown for us,” said Clarke.

“It will be a big test for us this season, but we have managed to keep hold of the squad from last year with Colin Sher returning for another season, as well as Shabaz Khan, last season’s player of the year.”

Wood start their campaign on home turf against former champions Brentwood, and Clarke knows it could not have been a much tougher opening fixture.

But he hopes once his side get a win under their belts this season, they will be able to kick on from there.

“We have played them in the Twenty20 competitions over the years so we know how tough the game is going to be,” he added.

“They have got a very good bunch of players and we know we are going to have to surprise a few people along the way.

“Avoiding relegation has got to be the aim, but the first thing to do would be to win a game.

“Once we get one under the belt that will help settle us down. We set out for consolidation last season and we were pleasantly surprised with how it went. But it would be great if we could stay up. It’s the old cliché but we will be taking one game at a time.”

Wood progressed in the League Cup last weekend with a convincing 103-run win over Old Southendian to earn a home quarter-final against Premier rivals South Woodford or Wanstead.

And Clarke was pleased with the all-round display to take into this weekend’s league opener.

“It was a bit of a banana skin on paper, but we came out on top and everyone played their part,” he remarked.

“All the batsmen got some time in the middle and the bowlers had a good spell as well so it was a good performance to take into the league opener.”

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