Captain insists Rainham are relishing favourites tag

PUBLISHED: 14:30 11 July 2019

Rainham's Ben Little is congratulated by captain Jon O'Neill (right) after claiming a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Rainham's Ben Little is congratulated by captain Jon O'Neill (right) after claiming a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Jon O’Neill’s team made it three consecutive wins on Saturday with Ronnie Jackson starring with the bat

Jon O'Neill is delighted with how Rainham have gone about their business during the last three weeks of the T.Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division.

The Spring Farm Park club have defeated Great Totham, Rayleigh and Old Chelmsfordians since a humbling loss to Springfield.

It has propelled them to second in the standings and ahead of a trip to lowly Great Baddow this weekend, they are eager to make it four straight wins.

"We don't take anyone lightly in this division, they are in the Premier for a reason," O'Neill said.

"Obviously Great Baddow are near the bottom, but we cannot rest on our laurels at all. We need to be disciplined and efficient and show what we can do.

"It's not good enough to simply be the best side on paper, you have to deliver and the more we do that, the more chance we have of being able to get the right results.

"Even though we are favourites looking at the league table, we know we need to turn up and then the week after we have Canvey Island, so people will want to go into that game with runs and also wickets under their belt."

Rainham are the nearest side to leaders Springfield, but trail the first-placed club by 62 points with eight matches left this season.

At the start of the term, skipper O'Neill challenged his team to be in the top-three and so far they have backed up his words.

There is a way to go though and Bentley are only three points off Rainham while Canvey are a little further back on 158 with another meeting on the horizon.

It means O'Neill's men have to keep winning and they did that on Saturday at home to Old C's.

The visitors could only get up to 186-9 off 45 overs and Rainham got home by five wickets with Ronnie Jackson hitting 67 and Rushi Patel missing out on fifty by three runs.

O'Neill added: "Professionalism and efficiency has been the real buzzwords in recent weeks and it was the same again on Saturday.

"Games we have gone into as favourites, we have massively fulfilled expectations of late and we have really stepped up with the bat in the last few games.

"We have people in the right positions now and different people are popping up; we are no longer just relying on Jas (Hothi).

"He didn't get runs on Saturday, but Rushi and Ronnie stepped up with a great partnership to help us win the game."

Before Jackson and Patel got to work with the bat, Ben Little did plenty of damage with the ball and dismissed three Old Chelmsfordians' batsmen.

The ever-reliable Biren Patel also impressed and earned high praise from captain O'Neill following the comprehensive victory.

He said: "Ben bowled really well at the top, but didn't get anything back and returned for his second spell after 20 overs and he was even quicker than his first stint.

"That's been a bit of a theme this year and he bowled a stunning Yorker to get rid of their left-hander and wickets came at regularly intervals after.

"Biren's bowling amazing right now and probably the best I have seen him bowl over the last few games.

"He got their danger man Faz Rehman, he is a fantastic player and once you get him it's such a confidence booster. To keep them to 190 was a really good bowling performance."

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