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In the Hylands

16:30 06 May 2015

Hornchurch Athletic players celenrate a wicket at Rayleigh Fairview (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Hornchurch Athletic players celenrate a wicket at Rayleigh Fairview (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

Play your cards right at Hornchurch Athletic

Action from Hornchurch Athletic's clash at Rayleigh Fairview (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Action from Hornchurch Athletic's clash at Rayleigh Fairview (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

The first Saturday evening of the league season saw the unveiling of a new weekly card raffle.

In short, 52 playing cards are pinned face down to a board. Three tickets are pulled from a hat and winners choose a card each.

Cash prizes are won based on the card’s value. It was quite a hit.

Selection for the first week of the league season invariably sees a complete shuffling of the pack due to limited availability.

A Hornchurch Athletic fielder throws the ball (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)A Hornchurch Athletic fielder throws the ball (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Pleasingly, but not without a scrap, Athletic managed to field four sides with enough aces for a competitive hand.

And it goes without saying that HACC, regardless of the date, is never short of jokers!

The first team will need to improve next week as they were beaten convincingly, bowled out for 112 away at Rayleigh Fairview in reply to 223.

I should mention Steve Hunt, who topped off a rewarding week personally by making his first team debut.

Of all the questions Shunty will be asked this year, those about the proudest moment of his cricketing career have surely been answered.

Fortunately, back at Hylands, the seconds had a far better time.

Writtle won the toss and elected to bat before performing their own impression of a falling pack of cards, collapsing to 72 all out.

Ian Crane bowled with patience and skill, taking four well-earned wickets, before Athletic chased down the total with maximal fuss.

The third team were given a taste of Division Nine after an unexpected promotion as Southend on Sea hit 290 in the cold at Raphael Park.

Dave Hemmings and Greg Coates offered some batting resistance, but the dazed faces trudging back in the evening told their own story.

Most surprisingly, the fours, despite a Saturday morning dropout, put in an utterly imperious display, bowling out Rayleigh 6ths for just 43.

The victory was wrapped up so quickly that both sides decided to pass the time of day by carrying on!

So, two pairs in week one, and with players returning, a full house can surely not be far away.

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