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Essex League Division One: Richard Brabner happy with Harold Wood’s spine

PUBLISHED: 15:30 03 May 2017

Richard Brabner (far right) is congratulated by his Harold Wood team-mates after taking a wicket during their Essex League Cup clash with Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Richard Brabner (far right) is congratulated by his Harold Wood team-mates after taking a wicket during their Essex League Cup clash with Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Captain discusses squad and how they probably won’t know their main rivals for promotion until June

Richard Brabner celebrates taking a wicket for Harold Wood during their Essex League Cup clash with Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).Richard Brabner celebrates taking a wicket for Harold Wood during their Essex League Cup clash with Ilford (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Harold Wood captain Richard Brabner believes it will take a couple of weeks for them to find out who will be their main promotion rivals in Essex League Division One this season.

After finishing third in 2016, Wood are keen to get the job done this year ahead of the campaign starting on May 13.

Buckhurst Hill and South Woodford have dropped down from the Premier Division while Belhus and Gidea Park & Romford have come up from Division Two.

“It is difficult to know what clubs have done during the winter and what people they have brought in,” said Brabner.

“With the Premier Division, you know who is likely to be the top three or four teams, but the rest of the leagues are different.

“It is only after the first couple of weeks that you get an idea of how strong or weak certain clubs are going to be.”

Brabner is happy with the team at his disposal and hopes they can kick on after a decent last season.

Opener Raihan Hussain enjoyed a stunning 2016, as he scored over a thousand runs in all competitions.

Wood’s captain is hoping for more of the same from him and to see wicket-keeper Craig Perrin continue his consistency.

Perrin joined the club last year and hit over 500 runs during a solid debut campaign while Maruf Chowdhury took 39 wickets.

With Shahbaz Khan expected to produce the goods again and Brabner keen to lead from the front, all the signs point towards a great year for Wood.

“I think if you look at our spine, we have Raihan at the top and he was phenomenal last season and we are looking for more of the same from him,” said Brabner.

“Craig Perrin only joined us last year, but was wicket-keeper and did well plus we have Maruf Chowdhury.

“Maruf can bat anywhere in the middle and is a first change bowler, then we have ‘Shabs’ batting at four and opening the bowling.

“With myself as well, plus Hamzah (Ikram) returning, the spine of our team is looking very strong which is a massive positive.

“Factor in the contribution of our upcoming players every week and we should have a good season.”

Wood’s preparations for the new Division One campaign will continue on Saturday when they host rivals Gidea Park & Romford for a friendly.

Brabner’s team exited the League Cup last weekend following a 95-run loss to Ilford at home.

The Premier Division outfit batted first and smashed 319-4 from their 50 overs with Mohammed Fahad claiming 2-45.

And despite a 66 from opener Mdaminul Isalm Shihan, Wood were dismissed for 224 to exit the competition.

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