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Essex League Division One: Upminster captain Nicky Ison braced for tough derby game with Harold Wood first up

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 May 2018

A general view of play during the 2017 benefit match between Upminster and an Essex XI (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

A general view of play during the 2017 benefit match between Upminster and an Essex XI (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

The two local clubs will do battle at Upminster Park on Saturday in what should be an exciting 2018 Division One opener

Upminster captain Nicky Ison is expecting a difficult opening match in the Essex League Division One at home to Harold Wood this weekend.

The two clubs will do battle on Saturday and on paper they are arguably among the best sides in the division.

But despite Upminster coming down from the Premier Division, Ison insists Wood, who finished third in Division One in 2017, will not be underestimated.

He said: “They have a very settled team and they have been up there over the last couple of years.

“I know it will be a tough game for us first up, but we are looking forward to playing a few more local games this year.

“We have Harold Wood and also Gidea Park & Romford in the division, so we are looking forward to playing them and others.”

This will be Upminster’s first competitive game on home soil this season and Ison is keen to make it a fortress.

He hopes the recent sunny weather will contribute towards a good surface and an enjoyable game of cricket.

Ison added: “We have a new groundsman this year who is doing his best to get the ground in a good condition.

“It will be good to go for Saturday and hopefully we can have some home comforts first up and that could be important this season.”

Although Upminster’s new captain is determined to lead his team to a successful term in Division One, he is well aware time is required before they hit their straps.

Therefore his main focus for the first few weeks of the season is to see progress when it comes to performances.

“From my point of view, I don’t want us to focus too much on the results just yet,” explained Ison.

“I want us to improve our performances and see where we are. What is key is for all of us to train harder during the week and improve our match preparation because there is enough ability in the team for results to take care of themselves.

“We are coming down from the Premier Division, so there is a little bit of pressure on us to be one of the stronger teams in the league, but after losing the players we have I would have thought we would look to just consolidate.

“If we can come in the top-half it would be a pretty good season having come down and given the players we have seen leave.”

Upminster produced a good display on Saturday away to Premier Division opposition Chingford, but lost by 49 runs in the first round of the Essex League Cup.

The hosts made 242-5 from their 50 overs and Ison’s team eventually ended on 193-9 from their allotted overs despite a strong start.

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