Alan Ison interested in Upminster's aims only and not opponents ahead of Essex League Division One clash at Loughton
PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 August 2016
Ison was part of squad that sealed promotion to Premier Division in 2012 at The Uplands and wants history to repeat itself again
Upminster can win promotion from Essex League Division One this weekend and relegate Loughton in the process, but captain Alan Ison only has his eyes on the prize.
A last-ball defeat at home to Billericay on Saturday has failed to dampen the spirits of the leaders, who are 51 points clear of nearest rivals Southend.
If Ison’s men win at Loughton, they will return to the top flight and should also win the title – their first piece of silverware since 2005.
Although it would mean sending The Uplands outfit down, Upminster will do what is required and focus on the task at hand.
“It does look unlikely they will survive and you never know what to really expect when a team is in that situation,” said Ison.
“We have our strongest XI out so we will be going there hoping to seal promotion and the title.
“It won’t cross my mind that we could relegate them on Saturday. When we are playing, my focus is only on us.
“We can win the title this weekend, you never want to send somebody down, but if we have to do that, we have to.”
When Upminster last gained promotion to the Premier Division in 2012, they won by 20 runs at Loughton on the final day of the season to finish as runners-up.
It would be a case of deja vu for Ison and the likes of Matt Tigg and John Curtis, who also played in that clash and are set to feature in this weekend’s encounter.
The Upminster captain added: “It would be good if we could do it on Saturday and we got promoted there a few years ago.
“It would be great to do it early and then we can relax and enjoy the final two games of the season.”
Despite losing by one wicket at home to Billericay last weekend, Ison and his players were not too disheartened that evening.
Upminster managed to get up to 183, before they were all out in the 50th over of the innings with Shahbaz Butt top scoring with 54.
The main other contribution was from Julian Whetstone at the top of the order as he struck 43, while Matt Tigg added 23 at number 10.
Although it appeared a low total to defend, Upminster defeated title rivals Southend on July 23 after only posting 181 with the bat.
Ison added: “Julian played really well, he stuck in there with the new ball and it was a really good knock.
“It was a shame he couldn’t go on to get a score of 80 not out or more, but we had a good chat about that after the game. Shahbaz then came in and was smashing it everywhere, it was great to watch.
“Julian is technically a very solid player, he doesn’t have the big shots like me and Shahbaz do.
“I want to see him opening and batting all the way through, getting 90 not out or a hundred and letting the rest of us bat around him. He definitely has the talent to do that.”
Billericay made a strong start in reply and openers Paul Martin (42) and Nick Van Lint (66) put the away side in control.
Connor Whetstone (3-14) and Tigg (3-40) produced great spells to give Upminster a sniff of victory.
John Curtis bowled a sensational final over, picking up two wickets and forcing a run-out, but Billericay got over the line off the last ball.
It was a good weekend for the other Upminster teams, with the second XI beating Chingford by 12 runs after Robert White’s maiden century helped them post 281-9.
White clubbed 108 off 77 balls, with two sixes and 19 fours, before the hosts were dismissed for 269 as James Gerritse (5-39) shone with the ball.
Nikhil Mayor and Alfie James both hit 100 as the thirds piled up 281-4 against Shenfield, who were skittled for a paltry 38 in 20 overs.