Essex Division Two: Gidea Park captain Jamal Francis pleased with how season has progress ahead of Leigh match

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 July 2016

Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

All-rounder says club are in a good position to gain promotion

The Essex League season hits its halfway mark this weekend, and Gidea Park & Romford skipper Jamal Francis believes his team are matching expectations.

Park entertain Division Two strugglers Leigh tomorrow (Saturday) looking to make up for the frustration of having last week’s clash away to Oakfield Parkonians abandoned.

Heading into the weekend’s clash, Park are third and 10 points behind Oakfield, who occupy the last promotion spot, and Francis knows a win will boost hopes of kicking on in the second half of the campaign.

“We’re near enough where we wanted to be at this stage in the season, if not a bit better off because we’ve all pulled together,” said Francis. “We know we can win promotion, it all depends on whether we are consistent between now and the end of the year.

“If we can look back and say that we have at the end of the season, then we should be up there. If we can carry on the way we’ve been playing, we’ll be in a good position.”

Part of the reason behind Park’s lofty position has been the booming batting displays of all-rounder Shawn Findlay.

Ex-West Indies international Findlay is averaging 88.20, with a top score of 123 not out this year, and Francis will be keen for the left-hander to continue that form against Leigh.

“Shawn’s really come into his own this year and he’s looking a really confident player at the crease,” added Francis.

“Against Oakfield, it was a really good effort with the bat and held the innings together well. Sam Hewitt also came in and did well too.

“It helps when one of your experienced players is doing well as it breeds confidence through the squad.”

Saturday’s clash is also one between sides at different ends of the table, with Leigh ninth, but Francis knows it will still be tough for Park.

“We’ve learnt not to take anyone in the league lightly. In my time with Gidea Park, we’ve always had interesting games against Leigh,” he said.

“We’re in a good place at the minute, but we know we need to keep playing to our strengths.”

Divisional rivals Hutton make the trip to Horndon looking to build on their eight-run success against Wickford last weekend, one of only two matches to get a positive result.

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