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In The Hylands: a reflection

10:30 03 September 2015

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

Hornchurch Athletic players celebrate a wicket against local rivals 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

Our latest blog from Hornchurch Athletic’s Nathaniel Bastin

A Hornchurch Athletic batsman in action at Little Waltham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)A Hornchurch Athletic batsman in action at Little Waltham (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Four long months ago, I laid out what I believed to be the necessary components for a successful team.

Those desperately needing to get a life will remember that these were attitude, commitment and unity.

Now, as evenings continue to fall ever earlier, let us reflect on the season with these criterion in mind.

Hornchurch Athletic players appeal for a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Hornchurch Athletic players appeal for a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Firsts: League position – 5th

With a sniff of promotion on the final day of the season, our batsmen wilted to 107 all out against Writtle.

Promotion would have been denied, regardless, as Rainham claimed the necessary points to leave them second, but the group will likely consider several other inexplicable batting collapses to have brought about the mid-table finish.

The work ethic shown by the regular nucleus of the team has been exemplary and a positive team spirit has been remarked upon almost weekly.

Hornchurch Athletic captain Ross Raftery (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Hornchurch Athletic captain Ross Raftery (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

The lacking element has been continuity, with a near 40 players having been used throughout the campaign.

Inevitable disappointment will ultimately be replaced by a sense of understated achievement, given the circumstances.

Seconds: League position – 7th

A total of four wins for the entire season is made all the more surprising given that the year began with two consecutive victories.

The explanation can be scribbled on the back of a matchbox – inadequate batting, bowling and fielding.

I do not intend to use the word ‘inadequate’ condescendingly, rather, in a league boasting some strong sides, off weeks (or months) cannot be afforded.

The team will be pleased to have convincingly beaten Ingatestone last weekend, reaffirming their capabilities.

If collective form can be found, life at the opposite end of the league table is entirely realistic.

Thirds: League position – 7th

An Athletic miracle.

Many, if not all, considered the team’s cause to be lost with four games left to play.

But with Southend on Sea & EMT unable to fulfil two successive fixtures, a great win on the penultimate week followed by a walkover, the thirds have survived.

The dedicated, good humoured men who have trudged their way through adversity deserve enormous credit and have been rewarded.

The whole club is delighted with this unlikely outcome.

Fourths: League position: 1st

Before going any further, I should warn that, as we have seen in years gone by, things will get noticeably harder.

This side has, however, come to personify my blueprint for a successful season.

The team has kept a strong core of individuals who have grown together to form strong relationships both on the field and at the bar.

To attend training is usually to find the nets filled with fourth teamers constantly looking to improve.

The integration of colts into this revitalised tier has also been an extremely pleasing aspect.

Congratulations to all involved – thoroughly deserved!

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