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Alan Ison confident and pleased ahead of Upminster Cricket Club opener in Essex League Division One against Orsett & Thurrock

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 May 2016

Upminster captain Alan Ison in batting action (pic: Kevin Roome).

Upminster captain Alan Ison in batting action (pic: Kevin Roome).

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Corbeys Tey outfit travel to Orsett before Royal London Club Championship fixture with local rivals Hornchurch on Sunday

Upminster captain Alan Ison wants his team to take their early season cup form into the Essex League when they began their Division One campaign this weekend.

They make the trip to Orsett & Thurrock tomorrow (Saturday) unsure of what to expect from the opposition after summer changes.

Last season Orsett were in the division and finished seventh, but they have merged with Thurrock for this year.

After winning two Essex League Cup matches already, as well as defeating Cockfosters in the Royal London Club Championship on Monday, Ison’s confidence is high.

“I’m not sure what to expect this weekend, but I do know, like every game in the division this year, it will be a tough match,” said the skipper.

“But I’m confident we will perform well and hopefully we can build on the strong start we’ve made already this year. We have won three out of three and it would be great to start the league season with a victory.”

The 25-year-old is thrilled with the current atmosphere at the club after succeeding John Curtis as skipper.

Upminster beat Premier Division opponents Ilford by 88 runs last Saturday, before a 42-run victory over Cockfosters two days later set up a mouthwatering derby clash with local rivals Hornchurch on Sunday.

“I want us to try and build on the momentum and confidence we’ve got already,” added Ison. “We have a good atmosphere at the club and everyone is enjoying themselves and that is always the main thing.”

There will be plenty more smiles if Upminster secure two more wins over this weekend, but they know it will be difficult.

Upminster lost to Hornchurch by six wickets and 87 runs when they met in Division One last season, as the Harrow Lodge Park outfit won the title, and Roy Smith’s side have strengthened this winter.

“Sunday will be a really tough game, Hornchurch have signed some very good players,” said Ison. “I think I have a virtually fully fit squad. Shahbaz Butt won’t play, but I’ve got a wicket-keeper to come in.

“It will be a good test for us to see where we are at for this season and we always enjoy these matches.”

The absence of Butt will be a blow after he struck a second successive century for Upminster last weekend, hitting 101 against Ilford before retiring hurt.

Ison smashed 87 from 72 balls to help his side post 279-6 from 45 overs and it was always too many for their Premier Division rivals as Matt Tigg (3-30) again shone to help restrict the hosts to 191-8.

Upminster hosted Cockfosters two days later and half-centuries from Frankie Hazel (71) and Terry Wyatt (86 not out) set the visitors a target of 209 to win.

New recruit Julian Whetstone claimed 4-21 as the visitors were all out for 166. It concluded a busy Bank Holiday weekend for Ison as he played for a club XI on Sunday against the team that had reached the final of the Mobil Matchplay competition in 1996.

He said: “It was a really good day. It was great to see some old faces and was brilliantly organised. After playing three games in three days the body is feeling a little bit sore.

“The missus isn’t too happy with me either! But I think every team won as well on Saturday, the seconds, thirds, fourths so it was a great weekend for the club.”

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