Alan Ison happy to see Shahbaz Butt back for Upminster Cricket Club ahead of big Southend Cricket Club clash

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 July 2016

Shahbaz Butt in batting action for Upminster at Woodford Wells (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Shahbaz Butt in batting action for Upminster at Woodford Wells (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Wicket-keeper missed last weekend, but is available again and has already struck one century against Southend this season

Upminster captain Alan Ison is looking forward to tomorrow’s (Saturday) clash at home to Southend and trying to extend their advantage at the top of the Essex League Division One table.

The leaders suffered a defeat at Hadleigh last weekend – their first reverse in the division since the opening day of the campaign on May 7 at Orsett.

But Ison remains relaxed and confident they can get back on track when third placed Southend visit.

Upminster will be boosted by the return of wicket-keeper and opening batsman Shahbaz Butt.

“Southend are a good team and have a few good players so we know it will be another tough match,” said Ison.

“We need to perform as well as we can. We’re missing a few this week, but the guys that are coming in are more than capable of stepping up.

“A positive is we have Shahbaz back. He was having a kid last weekend so was busy! Having him return is good news, he’s a quality player and hit a century against Southend in May so hopefully he does it again.”

Ison lost the toss at Hadleigh last weekend and was made to field first, but watched his bowlers shine.

Connor Whetstone (3-17) and Matt Tigg (3-28) once again did most of the damage as the hosts were all out for 149.

Julian Whetstone (18) and Frankie Hazle (39) put on a good second wicket partnership to take Upminster to 63-1.

But they collapsed and were dismissed for 110, though they remain top and 30 points ahead of Orsett in second place.

“It’s been a great season so far, you’re going to slip up here and there and after losing on the opening day, to come back and win nine out of 11 is a great effort,” said Ison.

“Even on Saturday I think we could have won the match so we were able to take some positives from the defeat.

“We have got into a winning position in our last eight league games so that is definitely a big plus for us.

“At the moment we have a good lead at the top, there is seven games to go and two of them in the 50-over format.

“If we can get one or two wins it will set us up well for the all-day matches towards the end of the season.”

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