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Harold Wood up for derby test

More celebrating for Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke (centre) and his team (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) More celebrating for Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke (centre) and his team (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

George Sessions
Friday, July 11, 2014
5:00 PM

Clarke looking forward to Upminster clash

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Harold Wood captain Tom Clarke is looking forward to his side’s Essex League Premier Division derby with Upminster tomorrow (Saturday) and is thoroughly enjoying life in the top flight.

Wood have recorded an impressive five wins from nine outings to date since promotion and the old adage of taking ‘one game at a time’ is certainly working for Clarke’s men.

They will take that approach into this weekend’s clash and look to pick up more points so they can achieve their seasonal goal.

“It is an old cliché, but we do need to take it one game at a time,” Clarke said.

“That really does apply to us being a new team. We have just got to keep getting as many points as possible and try to stay in the division.

“That was the goal at the start of the season and we are still getting used to everything, but we have really enjoyed it so far.”

Clarke is looking forward to facing Upminster for the first time in a while and expects Wood to receive plenty of support.

He added: “It should be a good match and we haven’t played them for a few years now.

“We know a few of their players, though, so it will be good. A bit of a local rivalry and whenever we have played over Harold Wood we have got a good crowd as well.”

Wood continued their fine form with victory over Chingford last weekend and Clarke is looking for another good team display this weekend.

He added: “It was a really good performance all round versus Chingford, but it could have been very different.

“It was good to have everybody chip in and that is what it has been like all season, every week somebody has.

“If you had said to me at the start of the season you will have five wins from nine games I would have taken that.

“And when you look at the three losses – two to Brentwood and one to Wanstead, the best two teams in the league – we haven’t disgraced ourselves in any match.”

Chris Bennett (87) led the seconds to 244-8 against Westcliff, who limped to 125-6 after a rain delay to earn a draw.

Jay Griggs (5-38) shones as the thirds dismissed Hornchurch for 203, for whome Simon Rowe (52) and Lee Gilbert (51) top scored.

Brad Ayling and Chris Clarke nabbed braces, before George Bryant (101) and captain Ross Wooding (49 not out) steered Wood to a six-wicket win.

Joe Stallibrass took 3-20, while Zoe Quested and Dean Eades struck twice each, as the fourths skittled Basildon thirds for just 78 to set up an eight-wicket win.

Chriw Low (90 not out) and Steve Faram (66 not out) led the fifths to 183-2 against Old Southendians before captain Keith Donovan claimed three wickets in an easy win.

n Shahbaz Khan (80), Chris Bennett (46) and Burham Mahmood (42) led Wood to 268 against Fives in the Conference Cup on Sunday.

And three wickets apiece from slow bowlers Raihan Hussain and Sarfaraz Ahmed helped dismiss Fives for 183 in reply, sending Wood into the fourth round.

Wood also played a Sunday League fixture and saw Southend pile up 319-4 from 40 overs.

Zoe Quested (2-56) nabbed a brace and Colin Sher hit a stunning unbeaten 168 as Wood came up three runs short.

Kris Ali (44) and Ross Wooding (30 not out) made the other main contributions with the bat.

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