Essex Division One: Harold Wood captain Richard Brabner hopes new signing Islam Shihan continues form against Hadleigh

PUBLISHED: 17:19 30 June 2016

Richard Brabner of Harold Wood celebrates a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Richard Brabner of Harold Wood celebrates a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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Skipper pleased new face has hit ground running

Harold Wood skipper Richard Brabner hopes newcomer Islam Shihan can continue his good start at the club at home to Hadleigh in Essex League Division One on Saturday.

Shihan is a new face at Harold Wood Park and made his debut for the club last weekend, hitting 53 as they reached 133-4 before the game at Orsett was abandoned.

And Brabner is hoping the new addition can maintain that form when Wood entertain struggling Hadeligh.

“He’s a friend of Raihan Hussain’s and it’s great that he has come in and slotted into the squad so quickly,” said Brabner.

“We’ve got quite a few in the side now who are capable of doing well with the bat, so that will help us push on.”

The fixture against Hadleigh marks the halfway point in the campaign for Wood, their first back in Division One since 2013 following relegation last year.

Wood knew it was always going to be tough to return to the top flight at the first attempt and are currently fifth, 36 points off a promotion spot.

But Brabner believes the club are now on a roll, having been unbeaten in their last four league fixtures.

“We were a bit slow to get going at the start of the season, but once we got that first win, things have been clicking,” he added.

“The weather hasn’t helped us in recent weeks, but we still have confidence we can do well in the second half of the season.

“The boys at the top, like Upminster and a few others, have been doing well and may be too far away now, but we still feel we can have a say in that.

“Hadleigh are a good club with good players. If we do the basics well and play like we have been in recent weeks, that will hopefully put us in a good position to win.”

Wood are also set to welcome Shenfield for a third-round tie in the Essex League Cup on Sunday (1pm).

While Wood were competing in the Premier Division last season, Shenfield were on their way to winning promotion from Division One.

And with the two sides now having traded places in the divisions, Brabner is looking forward to seeing if his team can perform well against their top-flight opponents.

“It’s an exciting game ahead for us and we’re looking forward to playing a Premier Division team because it’s always a good chance to test yourself and see where you are,” he added.

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