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Essex Premier Division: South Woodford ready to fight until the end in battle for survival

PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 August 2016

South Woodford captain Joe Craddock (pic: Graham Hodges)

South Woodford captain Joe Craddock (pic: Graham Hodges)

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Highfield Road club know race to remain in top flight likely to run until last weekend

Joe Craddock is fully aware that South Woodford still hold their Essex League Premier Division fate in their own hands as the battle to avoid relegations seems to be going down to the wire.

The Highfield Road club hauled themselves to within six points of safety thanks to a surprise win away to defending champions and title-chasing Chelmsford last weekend.

South Woodford face another tough assignment on Saturday when they host second-placed Hornchurch.

After that, their run-in appears favourable with only one other match against a side currently in the top half, as Colchester visit on August 20.

And skipper Craddock knows his men have given themselves a fighting chance to stay in the top flight, even if it looked unlikely earlier this season.

“A month to six weeks ago, we were struggling, but we knew if we were able to stay in touch, we had a good end to the season playing the teams around us,” he said.

“After this weekend, we have that ahead of us and we still know that it is all to play for at the bottom.”

The weekend also marks the final round of 50-over matches, before the league returns to all-day games next weekend for the last four fixtures.

It also means it is the final time this season that there will be a definite result, as long as the weather holds off.

And Craddock is aware just how important it is to win this weekend, as a positive result will not only mean a huge swing in points, but will also be important in the mindset of their relegation rivals.

“The 50-over matches have been kind to us because that’s where all three of our wins have come from,” he added.

“In the all-day games, it’s crucial that if you’re not going to win, you dig in to get a draw or get as many bonus points as you can.

“In 50-over games, there are not as many bonus points on offer if you lose, so the swing either way can be huge.

“You can make up or lose ground so quickly on those around you. A positive result is a must this weekend, and after that bring on the rest of the season!”

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