HOWZAT: Bentley bidding for more Mid-Essex League success

PUBLISHED: 16:15 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 05 May 2017

Bentley celebrate their title win in 2016 (pic Paul Whelan)

Bentley celebrate their title win in 2016 (pic Paul Whelan)

Paul Whelan

Three titles in four years for Coxtie Green club

Reigning Premier Division champions Bentley begin the defence of their title – a third in four years – with a home clash against Old Chelmsfordians this weekend and then comes a trip to Goresbrook, who finished third last year and are seen as a possible contender for their crown in 2017.

Captain Phil Coleman admitted it felt great to be crowned champions in 2016, but knows his side cannot rest on their laurels if they want more success.

He said: “Last year was phenomenal. We had put a lot of hard work in over the last couple of years and the 14 or 15 players used throughout the season had all come up through the colts, which shows whow good that set-up is.

“There were a couple of times when we lost games, but it was a case of sticking together so it didn’t start turning into a routine. Because we’ve all played together as long as we have, it always helps you pull things back.

“Springfield have been pushing us for the last few years and are always our toughest contenders, but Goresbrook are strong as well and have a lot of young players who have been together for a long time.

“And Canvey Island can be a difficult place to go and a lot of our guys have not played there before.”

Bentley finished 23 points clear at the top of the table last term, after some notable performances from a couple of individuals.

But Coleman admits he was frustrated with his own form and hopes to make up for it this time around, as part of a strong all-round squad effort, adding: “Tom Johnson had a great year with the bat and Lewis Whiteley too. It was probably the most prolific season they’ve had.

“I had a disappointing season personally and would like to step up this year. But when someone isn’t in form, others can step up.

“In previous years we might have been a bit reliant on one or two to get big runs, but the last couple of years that has been put to bed. When it’s important, someone has stuck their hand up and performed.”

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