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In the Hylands

12:00 28 July 2015

Hornchurch Athletic's home ground

Hornchurch Athletic's home ground

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Nathaniel Bastin’s latest blog from Hornchurch Athletic CC

A condemned man takes his final walk towards the execution scaffold where he is shortly to be hanged by the neck until dead. As he approaches the step, a member of the crowd offers him a cigarette to which he replies ‘no thanks, I’m trying to quit’.

This kind of gallows humour has been a regular feature of the third team’s season so far. Following consecutive promotions, the side has found life in division nine especially challenging, loitering in the relegation places for the majority of the year.

Inevitably, this plight is not the result of one weakness alone but, rather, numerous and concurrent factors. Perhaps most important is the loss of the team’s two former opening blowers, Alex Hardy and Sam Blowers, leaving a vacuum filled by enthusiastic, but developing, youngsters.

The batting line-up, though personnel has remained largely unchanged, also seems to have lacked its previous potency, with difficulties in both setting and chasing competitive targets.

Inconsistent availability for the teams above cannot have helped matters, where, in years gone by, high class players have turned out for the threes searching for form or unable to secure a place in their regular side.

Of course, the strength of the league should certainly not be discounted, but are we to concede that this is simply a step too far for Mark Speller’s men?

Well, possibly not as the team secured victory at the weekend against (admittedly, also struggling) Eastwood thirds and are now a further win away from hurdling the red line of doom.

Camaraderie, courage and a stroke or two of good fortune is required to avoid the looming hangman’s noose and, if they do escape, I hope you will all join me in a rendition of ‘God save the Threes’, led by (we shouldn’t forget) our modern third team’s most successful captain.

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