Ilford focused on defeating Hornchurch for own reasons
PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 August 2018
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Valentines Park outfit drew with Chingford last weekend
Ilford skipper Theeban Tavarasa says the team are excited, not daunted, by the prospect of facing Shepherd Neame Premier Division leaders Hornchurch on Saturday.
The Valentines Park outfit welcome Hornchurch this weekend, looking to put a huge dent in the visitors’ title challenge.
Hornchurch currently sit 14 points clear of second-placed Wanstead & Snaresbrook, who lost against Brentwood last weekend, so a win for Ilford on Saturday would do their London Borough of Redbridge rivals a favour.
But with the Valentines Park club still trying to make certain of their own place in the division next season, Tavarasa says Ilford are focused on winning to help themselves rather than lending their borough rivals a hand.
“Wanstead will want us to win, but we’re looking to beat Hornchurch for our own gain,” said Tavarasa.
“They have experienced players like Chris Sains, while they’ve also got talented players like Monty Panesar and Mehad Khan.
“Hornchurch are top for a reason, so we know we have to play our best game on Saturday.
“We got into every game knowing that if we back ourselves to win, we can be a match for anyone in the division.”
Away to Chingford last week, Ilford had to dig in to secure a draw and claim seven points.
Electing to field, the Valentines Park outfit saw their hosts close on 274-7 despite two wickets apiece for Haaris Ayub and Kalpesh Chandracant.
And Ilford struggled in the early stages of their run chase as they slumped to 42-6 at one stage, before a 97-run partnership between Ayub (55) and Akhil Anil (49) steadied the ship.
Tavarasa’s men recovered to eventually close on 154-8 and the captain was pleased with how the lower order fared after the top order stuttered.
“The tail seems to have wagged a little more than usual in recent weeks, which is pleasing,” he added.
“It was a shame the top order couldn’t get runs against Chingford, but it’s a good sign that players lower down the order, and in particularly some of the younger ones, were able to do well with the bat.”
Though pleased with the lower order, Tavarasa will hope they do not have to perform more heroics this weekend as Ilford look to dent Hornchurch’s title bid with a memorable victory at Valentines Park.