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GPR skipper Francis happy to still have something to play for as end approaches

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 August 2018

Jamal Francis of Gidea Park & Romford (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Jamal Francis of Gidea Park & Romford (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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

Park beat Havering rivals Harold Wood by five wickets last weekend

Gidea Park & Romford skipper Jamal Francis believes Saturday’s clash with Buckhurst Hill will be exciting because both teams are still fighting for something in the Sheperd Neame Essex League Division One.

With just four games to go in the campaign, Park sit one place and 12 points above the bottom two, knowing there is still work to do to secure safety.

Hill, meanwhile, occupy the second promotion spot, but are still in a tight tussle to go up to the Premier Division with Colchester & East Essex and Belhus.

It means both GPR and Hill will be desperate for the points on Saturday, which Francis anticipates will make for a good game.

“Buckhurst Hill want to go up and they’ve been doing well in recent weeks and got some really good results,” he said.

“We are also in need of the points just as much as they are, so we’ll both be giving it our all on Saturday.

“We won at Buckhurst Hill earlier in the season, so that gives us confidence and we’re excited about another good game this weekend.”

Matches across the Shepherd Neame Essex Leagues will revert back to the all-day format for the final four games of the season, starting with this weekend’s fixtures.

Clubs had spent the past nine weeks playing 50-over-a-side, but Francis is unsure whether the change in format will impact GPR.

“It’s difficult to know if the change in format will affect us, but we do know that we did well in the all-day matches at the start of the season,” he added.

“We’re looking to replicate that form and we know we need at least two wins if we want to stay up.”

GPR head into Saturday’s game off the back of a five-wicket victory at home to London Borough of Havering rivals Harold Wood last weekend.

Sam O’Sullivan took 3-18 with the ball, while Russell Collard hit 37 in the victory for Park and Francis was happy his side were able to end a four-match losing run in the league by beating their local rivals.

“The win was a long time coming and it was good to end the bad habit we were in of losing matches,” he said.

“It was good to get a comfortable win and that will really help boost our team spirit.”

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