Rainham's O'Neill beaming after last-wicket win
PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 August 2019
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The rain saw most fixtures called off last weekend, but not Rainham's away to Aythorpe Roding
Rainham entertain Stock in the T.Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division on Saturday hoping to increase their grip on second spot.
The Spring Farm Park club made ground on the likes of Bentley and Canvey Island last weekend by winning in the only top flight match to survive the wet weather.
With five games left, Rainham know Springfield are likely to win the title, but aim to be runners-up to the champions and know a win over Stock tomorrow will help.
"It's a game we would expect to win, but unfortunately we are missing a few this weekend because Biren Patel's sister is getting married," O'Neill said.
"The good thing is people have been knocking on the door from the twos for a while, so they will now get a chance.
"Our strength is depth is so strong, I guess it's actually a positive to be able to give out some opportunities, but we have to perform our best to win."
Ninth-placed Stock almost got the better of Rainham in June, but O'Neill's team got home by two wickets chasing 119 to win.
It was a similar story last time out at Aythorpe Roding with an exciting contest developing after the two teams got play underway in the Uttlesford district.
All other Premier Division ties were called off and no play was possible in Division One or Two, but Rainham were desperate to get some cricket on.
That proved wise with Roding restricted to 163-8 off 32 overs as O'Neill claimed 2-33 and Bhavik Patel picked up 3-32.
Rainham made a poor start to their chase and were in trouble on 35-4 and 94-7, but the captain dug in and reached 46 not out going into the final over.
Bhavik Patel was on strike, but when he was caught, number 11 Mick Clifford was required and fortunately for the visitors he got an edge for two to secure the win.
"It was a great feeling to win like that and you don't get that feeling too many times," O'Neill admitted.
"We travelled knowing it would be wet, but we wanted to show the umpires we were up for playing by going there. Fortunately Aythorpe are one of the only clubs to have covers and they have a great groundsman, so that all helped.
"With a shortened game, it is always a bit of a lottery, but we would much rather play and lose, and pick up bonus points, than not play and pick up eight points.
"Even if we had lost in the last over we would have got six points, so by going for it we actually gained 14 and when you look at it like that it's a no-brainer to play even if the conditions are not great."