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Essex Division One: Harold Wood Cricket Club excited for start of new season at Southend

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 May 2016

Harold Wood's Richard Brabner (pic: Graham Hodges)

Harold Wood's Richard Brabner (pic: Graham Hodges)

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Skipper Brabner knows opener will be a tough test

Richard Brabner knows Harold Wood will be pushed hard in their Essex Division One opener when they travel to Southend on Saturday.

Wood get their first campaign in the second tier for three years underway with a trip to the coast to face a Southend side that missed out on promotion last season by just four points.

And with Southend expected to challenge for honours again this time around, Brabner knows his team face one of their harder assignments on the first weekend of the league season.

“Southend are one of the better teams in this division, so it will be a tough contest, but I think we’re all looking forward to just getting out there,” said the Wood skipper.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve been in this division, so it will be a good test early on and show us where we are.”

Wood warmed up for that clash with a one-wicket triumph over Division Three’s Ardleigh Green in the Essex League Cup.

Green won the toss and elected to bat first, which looked to be a good decision as Paul Hurworth and Jon Bayfield put on 50 for the first wicket, before the visitors crumbled to 71-5.

A captain’s innings of 41 from Chris Cook helped Green recover to reach 178, with Maruf Chowdhury (3-25) the pick of the Wood attack.

In reply, the hosts struggled early on and were 44-3 at one stage, but an impressive knock of 53 from Shahbaz Khan helped steer them home inside 39 overs.

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