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Promotion showdown for Hornchurch Athletic

Hornchurch Athletic face a final-day promotion showdown with Brookweald in the Mid-Essex League tomorrow (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) Hornchurch Athletic face a final-day promotion showdown with Brookweald in the Mid-Essex League tomorrow (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

George Sessions
Friday, August 29, 2014
5:00 PM

Skipper Samarasekera backs squad to succeed

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Hornchurch Athletic captain Sam Samaraskera has backed his side to handle the pressure as they host Brookweald to decide who takes the final promotion place in the Mid-Essex League Division Two tomorrow (Saturday).

Just six points separate the two teams but Athletic, currently in second place, know victory will secure a second successive promotion.

And Samaraskera was in buoyant mood this week, saying: “I am confident, but the weather isn’t looking too good so I hope that doesn’t play a part.

“It is a straight shoot-out and I’m really looking forward to it. This is the reason you play cricket; for games like this, for pressure like this and me and the players can’t wait. Everyone is optimistic and everyone is really up for it.

“The pressure is the same for both sides, a lot of us have proven we can play under pressure. Everyone has scored runs under pressure and taken wickets under pressure, so I actually think we are good under pressure.”

Athletic faced pressure at Writtle last weekend, knowing they had to win to keep their promotion dream alive.

Captain Samaraskera led the way with 65 in a total of 227-7 before excellent bowling helped restrict their hosts to 206-8.

James Coote’s spell was the standout, conceding just 26 runs from 12 overs, while Sam Blowers (2-12) and Paul Crane (2-75) made vital inroads.

Samarasekera was pleased with the win and praised the batting efforts of Liam Porter and Stuart Whitaker.

“I was especially pleased because I’d missed the two previous weeks, so it was nice to come back and get a win,” he added.

“We got off to a good start, me and Ross Raftery (36) put a good platform down and I looked at our batting line-up and knew if we provided that then everyone else could come in and get us up to a good score.

“The stand-out knocks for me were Liam Porter (22) and Stuart Whitaker (30 not out) because they added a 50-run partnership just as we had lost some wickets.

“They really added some impetus to the innings and it provided to be decisive, so they deserve a mention.”

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