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Essex League Premier Division: Roy Smith’s aware Hornchurch set for ‘close game’ with Shenfield

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 May 2017

Hornchurch's new South African signing Brian Barnard with captain Roy Smith

Hornchurch's new South African signing Brian Barnard with captain Roy Smith

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In addition to visiting Shenfield, Hornchurch also have a National Cup tie at home to Southgate on Sunday

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith has demanded an improvement from his team ahead of their Essex League Premier Division opener away to Shenfield tomorrow (Saturday).

The Harrow Lodge Park club were knocked out of the Essex League Cup last weekend following a three-wicket loss at Colchester.

Smith was disappointed with the performance at Castle Park and, ahead of returning to one of his old clubs this weekend, the Hornchurch skipper is keen to see a much better batting display.

He said: “You always get a good game over at Shenfield and we have been involved in some close encounters with them over the past couple of years.

“I played over there for a little while and they have a strong team and are looking good, so it is going to be a decent match.

“All-day cricket is a different format compared to the 50-over stuff and you can settle in before going with your game plan.

“You can play yourself in, so I am hoping the short boundaries can work in our favour and not hurt us.”

Hornchurch won their first three Premier Division games in 2016 and their captain would love to repeat that this time around.

A strong opening month to the campaign last year enabled Smith’s team to push for the title until a poor run in July hit their hopes and they finished fourth.

“I’d settle for a similar start again this year and I always like to start well because that way you can plan ahead and look at what you can achieve towards the end of the season,” said Smith.

“If you start poorly, it can sometimes be a struggle to drag yourself up the table, so hopefully we can get off to a flyer.

“Jamie Sorrell will be back for us on Saturday, but we are missing Marc Whitlock and that’s a shame. He bowled brilliantly last weekend at Colchester, so he will be a miss and Chris Sains is away, but other than that we are looking good.”

In addition to visiting Shenfield, Hornchurch also have a National Cup second round tie at home to Southgate on Sunday and Smith hopes they can enjoy a good run in the competition.

Last year, they exited the competition in the third round following a 96 run defeat to Premier Division rivals Wanstead at Harrow Lodge Park.

“I am pleased we are at home, but I don’t know too much about them, although I am sure they are a good side,” said Smith.

“We have a decent team out, so hopefully we win and it gives us a confidence boost. It’d be fantastic to have a run in it this year.”

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