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Hornchurch closing in on promotion

15:00 08 August 2014

Hornchurch skipper Roy Smith. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Hornchurch skipper Roy Smith. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Derby test up next for Smith’s men

Horchurch go into their Essex League Division Two derby at Gidea Park & Romford tomorrow (Saturday) knowing victory could leave them one game away from clinching promotion.

Roy Smith’s side bounced back from only their second defeat of the season against Leigh to beat Fives by six wickets last weekend.

Paul Murray (22), Jamie Sorrell (22) and Chamikara Mudalige (2-39) returned to the side and played a part as Hornchurch successfully chased a target of 219.

A knock of 111 from Mick Perry for Fives put Hornchurch on the back foot, but Taqi Abbas (2-34), Mark James (2-21) and Mudalige hit back with the ball.

Ronnie Saunders (49), captain Smith (69 not out) and Chris Sains (30) made light work of a formidable target.

“It wasn’t an easy game against Fives,” said Smith.

“They thrashed Gidea Park the other week (in a 277-run victory), so we thought if we could try and bat first and get runs on the board it would make it easier for ourselves, but that didn’t happen.

“We lost the toss again and knew we’d have to fight for it, but it helped getting their opener (Terry Ballard) out in the second over. He got 150 the week before so that was a big help.

“We got a bit of a run going and we clawed it back quite well. To be chasing over 200 and win, we were delighted.”

A local derby would ordinarily promote a fair bit of excitement, but partisan rivalries have seemingly been set aside with the title within touching distance.

“It’s just another game for us really,” added Smith. “We just need to get another win under our belts and another two wins and we should be there. If we keep winning we know we can’t be caught, which is the main objective.”

The seconds beat their Fives counterparts by 12 runs, after Richard Burd (37) top scored in a total of 147.

Dean Skipper (5-32) shone with the ball, while Danny O’Sullivan (2-10) chipped in to dismiss Fives for 135.

The thirds beat Chingford by four wickets, after being set 247 to win, thanks to solid knocks from Lee Gilbert (55), Robin Sen (52), Lowell Mason (42) and Mark Elder (35).

But the fourths went down by 51 runs against Loughton thirds, with former Hornchurch youngster Kieran Scarlioli (34) in the runs as the hosts made 220-8.

The fifths eased to a 10-wicket win over Chingford, who were skittled for 44 inside 28 overs.

Dave Kiff and Singh (both 4-5) shone with the ball, before Paul Newland (22 not out) and Louie Mackman (21 not out) knocked off the runs.

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