Essex Division Two: Gidea Park skipper Jamal Francis wary of struggling Wickford after earlier draw

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 July 2016

Gidea Park captain Jamal Francis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Gidea Park captain Jamal Francis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

Park captain knows what opposition are capable of, despite propping up table

Gidea Park & Romford skipper Jamal Francis insists his side will not be complacent when they face Essex League Division Two strugglers Wickford on Saturday.

Park, currently third in the table, welcome the bottom club looking for another win to press their claims for promotion.

But when the sides met in May, Park were perhaps somewhat fortunate to escape with a draw having at one stage been 24-6 chasing 250 to win.

And it is that display which has given Francis food for thought this weekend, knowing Park can ill afford a repeat display with the bat as they look to chase down Oakfield Parkonians, who are 10 points ahead of them in second place.

“We haven’t forgotten that we struggled with the bat against Wickford earlier in the season, so we know we have to be on our game,” said Francis.

“There have been other shock results in the league for other teams too, so we know we can’t take Wickford lightly.”

One positive to come out of the previous meeting, though, was the form of bowler Zisan Abedin with the ball.

The spinner took five wickets as he ruthlessly swept through the Wickford line-up at a time when Park were struggling.

And Francis is hoping for more of the same from Abedin when the sides clash once again this weekend.

“Zisan has bowled well all season and has been very consistent too, there’s not been many games where he hasn’t bowled all the overs he could,” added Francis, who himself has been in good form with the ball.

“He has picked up key wickets at key times in matches for us and like all of the spinners he’s played a key role for us so far this season.”

Another key figure has been Shawn Findlay, who was in his typically aggressive mood last weekend as Park beat Harlow Town.

And Francis was happy to praise the contribution of his all-rounder once more, having done so several times this year.

“The team are benefiting from Shawn’s maturity this year. He has a good strike rate, he’s knuckled down and he’s playing the ball as he sees it,” he said.

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