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In the Hylands

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 July 2015

Hornchurch Athletic players celebrate a wicket against Rainham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch Athletic players celebrate a wicket against Rainham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

18/07/2015 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

Nathaniel Bastin’s latest blog from Hornchurch Athletic CC

Action from Hornchurch Athletic's derby clash with Rainham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) Action from Hornchurch Athletic's derby clash with Rainham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

We are, I believe, witnessing a change in the zeitgeist.

The manner of the first team’s victory at the weekend is, frankly, of little importance. What matters is the contextual significance and the way in which the mood and focus of the side has now shifted.

It is a captain’s duty to present an optimistic (sometimes overly) list of expectations for the season, yet, to sift through the public relations jargon is often to expose a quite startling heap of unwelcome detritus.

Before, and over the course of, this current year, the group has had to face a great deal of adversity – certainly more so than in times past. Formerly vital players have either sought challenges elsewhere or, in some cases, found alternative forms of weekend recreation.

As a result, selection has frequently resembled a lucky dip with the prospect of fielding the same side consecutively a quite laughable proposition. Historic batting collapses; bewildering defeats; murmurs of a relegation battle.

In spite of this, a small number of dedicated men, ably assisted by willing foot soldiers, have ensured that the team quietly incubates at mid-table, ready to challenge for honours if and when the opportunity arises.

The triumph against high-flying Rainham has propelled the team amazingly to within touching distance of promotion and just a win away from first place.

Six games remain; 12 innings; a thousand separate chances to transform the cobbled class of 2015 from ordinary to extraordinary.

For a modest, low budget sports club, Hornchurch Athletic has consistently batted above its average in terms of success through the years.

Amongst the 1970s décor, the pavilion displays the names and faces of distinguished teams, memorable eras and gifted players sadly departed.

The elderly bell has recently come loose from its mount, but the impending weeks might necessitate the need for more than one new wall bracket.

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