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Gordon: Hornchurch retaining league title would be more special than treble

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 May 2019

Billy Gordon of Hornchurch during Ilford CC vs Hornchurch CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cup Cricket at Valentines Park on 27th April 2019

Billy Gordon of Hornchurch during Ilford CC vs Hornchurch CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cup Cricket at Valentines Park on 27th April 2019

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The Harrow Lodge Park club are ready to enjoy more success in 2019 despite changes to personnel over the winter

Mervyn Westfield of Hornchurch during Ilford CC vs Hornchurch CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cup Cricket at Valentines Park on 27th April 2019Mervyn Westfield of Hornchurch during Ilford CC vs Hornchurch CC, Shepherd Neame Essex League Cup Cricket at Valentines Park on 27th April 2019

After an unprecedented year of success, Hornchurch are looking to back up their Essex League treble with even more glory, says captain Billy Gordon.

The Harrow Lodge Park club will never forget 2018 after winning their first-ever Premier Division title, but that was only one chapter of the story.

Hornchurch also won the T20 Cup and the League Cup to do something never achieved before in Essex club cricket.

Over the winter some changes to personnel have occurred, but Gordon's team are just as pumped to do it all again over the next few months.

The biggest challenge for the 2018 treble-winners will be trying to retain their Premier Division crown, with many clubs failing to win back-to-back titles.

Chelmsford won the league in 2017, but followed it with fifth place last year and 2016 winners Wanstead were another unable to hold onto their crown.

For Gordon, the initial target is to deal with Hornchurch having a price on their head after last year and then to replicate 2018.

He said: "A lot of teams will be after us when we face them this season after what we did last year and we have just got to be ready. They will want their own back.

"I know it was really special last season, but if we could win the league again and defend the title, I think that would be just as special as winning the treble, if not more special.

Hornchurch players celebrate after winning the Essex League Premier Division title in 2018Hornchurch players celebrate after winning the Essex League Premier Division title in 2018

"For us to do it again - win all three trophies - will obviously be doubly difficult, but we will do everything we can."

Hornchurch will be missing the experience of former captain Roy Smith this year, after he departed for Shenfield in the winter.

Smith will skipper the Division One side and has been joined at Chelmsford Road by Chris Sains.

Treble-winners Hornchurch have tried to replace the pair with former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield, who has starred for Frinton-on-Sea in recent years.

Gordon said: "In the changing room we used to have great laughs with Roy and 'Sainsy' and they will both be badly missed in the changing room and in and around the club, but we still have a lot of characters in our team.

"Hopefully Merv and the other additions we have can settle in and we can make them feel comfortable and they can help us fill the void."

Westfield is a major coup for the club, but another previous County Championship player has moved on in Monty Panesar.

Nevertheless, Westfield, who is now a genuine all-rounder, has already made a big impact at Harrow Lodge Park and struck a stunning 116 in a League Cup win at Goresbrook last weekend.

Left-arm spinner Jas Bassan is another winter recruit who will be a key part of the club's bowling attack this year and Sri Lankan Gayan Sirisoma is Hornchurch's overseas player this season.

"Everyone is really motivated and one of the first things Merv said to me was he wants us to be challenging for the title," Gordon revealed.

"He asked would we still all be up for it and we are and it is good to get people in who want to play hard cricket and win.

"Fingers crossed we will be a bit better in the field because we should be slightly younger and hopefully we do well.

"Everyone is looking forward to it, we have had the clubhouse done up and the pitch relaid, so it all looks good for the season."

The challenge for Hornchurch now is to enjoy cup success and title challenges on a regular basis and for mediocrity not to set in.

Gordon, in his second year as captain, admitted: "It has really sunk in now and to do what we did in 2018 was pretty special, but I don't want Hornchurch to just be one-season wonders.

"I want this club to be regularly challenging for the top places with the likes of Brentwood, Wanstead and Chelmsford."

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