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Essex League Premier Division: Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon prepared for stern examination at improved Shenfield

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 May 2018

Billy Gordon in batting action for Hornchurch during the 2017 season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Billy Gordon in batting action for Hornchurch during the 2017 season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

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

The new skipper in all formats at Harrow Lodge Park discusses the importance of starting the campaign strongly and this weekend's opponents

Billy Gordon is expecting his Hornchurch team to face an improved Shenfield side in Saturday’s Essex League Premier Division opener.

The two teams finished fourth and fifth in 2017 with the Harrow Lodge Park outfit 13 points off Jack Kliber’s men.

Saturday’s fixture at Shenfield was therefore always going to be a challenge, but with the hosts signing Essex Aaron Beard during the winter, they are even stronger heading into the new campaign.

Gordon said: “Shenfield look to have improved their side this year with Aaron Beard going there.

“I think it will be a tough test to get the season going, but hopefully we can start off with a good result and push our way forward from there.”

Hornchurch got their first competitive win of 2018 last weekend with a crushing win at home to Orsett & Thurrock in the first round of the Essex League Cup.

Gordon’s team actually struggled with the bat and could only manage 160 all out, but it counted little in the end as the visitors were dismissed for just 42.

The highlights of Hornchurch’s batting display were quick-fire 24s for opener Ronnie Saunders and Mark James and solid scores of 30 plus for Frankie Jacobs (33) and ex-captain Roy Smith (30).

It wasn’t enough for the home side to complete their allotted overs as they failed to use their final 18 balls, but it only extended Orsett’s stay of execution.

Captain Gordon and Mehad Khan ran riot at the beginning of the visitors’ innings with the skipper claiming 3-16 and Khan picking up a sensational 5-8.

Monty Panesar got in on the act afterwards and earned his first scalp in a Hornchurch shirt to finish with 2-8 and help bowl Orsett out inside 21 overs.

“It is good to get the confidence going early because once you get a couple of wins you can get on a roll and it is the same when you lose,” said Gordon.

“You don’t want to get into that habit of losing because it can affect confidence massively and can be difficult to get out of, but hopefully we can make a strong start in the league and push us on for the season ahead.”

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