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Hornchurch captain Smith looks forward to hosting Lashings All Stars

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 January 2016

Hornchurch batsman Roy Smith in batting action (pic: Mick Kearns/TGS Photo).

Hornchurch batsman Roy Smith in batting action (pic: Mick Kearns/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 8450 946026

Harrow Lodge Park club set to go up against the likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Tino Best later this year

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith with the Essex League Cup (pic: Sandra Rowse)Hornchurch captain Roy Smith with the Essex League Cup (pic: Sandra Rowse)

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith is excited to be hosting the Lashings World XI later this year.

The Harrow Lodge Park outfit are getting ready for the Essex League Premier Division season, which starts in May.

But it has been revealed that they will also have a lucrative match against Lashings to stage.

Lashings was a cricket team originally formed in 1984 that has grown from an unremarkable English local side into, as it bills itself, the ‘World’s Greatest Cricket Club’.

The likes of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Viv Richards have represented the team before.

Already confirmed for the 2016 campaign is South African legend Herschelle Gibbs as well as West Indies bowler Tino Best.

On the Lashings website, they are scheduled to come to Hornchurch on Thursday, July 28 and Smith is chuffed that they have decided to play last season’s Essex Division One champions.

He said: “We have got Lashings Cricket Club coming to us during the 2016 season. They are a team made up of all ex-professionals who always go and play around the country.

“We are quite chuffed they have asked to play us to be honest, because normally they only play one or two sides from each county. It will be a massive event for us to host later this year.”

Somebody who will not play in that fixture, however, is Max Osborne after he decided to leave the club to move back to his former side Brentwood.

It means Hornchurch are now looking to recruit before the start of the new campaign.

After hitting 1,087 runs during the 2015 season Smith is working hard already to ensure he hits the ground running in the top flight.

“I am trying to keep fit,” added the Hornchurch captain. “I’ve been doing some running. As you get older it gets harder so you need to really work on it to prevent injuries or loss of form, but things are going well.”

Smith has been fortunate to keep his game ticking over by playing indoor cricket.

And the Hornchurch skipper was in Barbados in November as part of the Club Cricket Conference Centenary Tour squad.

The CCC had three teams involved, a Representative side, a women’s squad as well as the veterans.

Although victories were hard to come by for all of the teams, it was deemed a huge success and Smith certainly enjoyed himself.

Hornchurch’s skipper claimed players do not realise how hard it is to adapt to different conditions until you have played somewhere like the West Indies.

He added: “I was off in Barbados recently for the Club Cricket Conference Centenary Tour, it is their 100th anniversary so they had a representative side put together.

“They wanted to get an over-40s team so we got that sorted and went along. We had three games out there, which was good. We lost all of them, but it was different and you really appreciate the conditions.

“When you watch it on the TV, you ask why England aren’t doing well, but you really do realise just how difficult it is when you go over there yourself.

“It is such a change compared to back home, but it was really good and a great experience.”

The 2015 campaign turned out to be a fantastic year for Smith and Hornchurch as promotion back to the Premier Division was achieved alongside Shenfield and they won the Essex League Cup final against Brentwood as well to complete a memorable double.

To top that in 2016 will be some effort, but no doubt the Harrow Lodge Park club will be keen to enjoy more success this year.

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