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Captain O’Neill knows Rainham can reach higher levels

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 May 2019

Rainham's Jon O'Neill (left) and Jas Hothi celebrate a victory in the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Rainham's Jon O'Neill (left) and Jas Hothi celebrate a victory in the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

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

The Spring Farm Park club are third in the Mid-Essex League Premier Division, but their skipper is not satisfied with their start

Jon O'Neill has thrown down the gauntlet to his Rainham team ahead of Saturday's trip to Stock in the Mid-Essex League Premier Division.

After four games this season, the Spring Farm Park outfit sit third in the table with one defeat and three wins which gives them 74 points so far.

This includes the walkover they received from Aythorpe Roding last weekend but the captain is far from satisfied despite a relatively good start.

O'Neill said: "Obviously we got full points on Saturday which realistically we probably wouldn't have got.

"I would've backed us to win, but getting 26 points is hard in this league and looking at the table and seeing us third is a bit misleading.

"We have had one good performance, one okay performance and one really bad performance, so for me that is not the levels we should be hitting and I've made that clear to the guys."

Rainham's only loss came on May 18 when they were all out for 78 chasing 181 to win away to Canvey Island.

It was a tough result to take and O'Neill hoped his squad could bounce back against Aythorpe, but were denied the opportunity to do so.

He said: "The Canvey result was a shocker. We had them on the ropes, but our fielding was poor and I hold my hands up because I dropped three catches, which is more than I dropped all of last season, so it was such a disappointment.

"I guess the only thing is we have now had that game and it has been a wake-up call for a lot of people.

"Mentally a lot of people lost their heads and that is something I can't tolerate as captain because mental strength is one of my best aspects and I need to put that onto the younger guys.

"That game is one I thought would be a barometer for us early on and we failed in it, so to see us third is slightly misleading and although that is where we're aiming for, to remain there we need to prove ourselves more in the games against teams like Canvey.

"If we want to push clubs like Springfield and Bentley we have to win against a side like Stock first and these are games where I feel we need to be efficient."

Rainham's opponents have one league win this year, which arrived last weekend at home to Great Baddow.

Stock are generally strong on their own turf and O'Neill knows it won't be easy for them especially after a little while without a game.

"After the last result against Canvey, we were keen to put that right on Saturday, but Aythorpe letting us win made us feel a bit of deflation," O'Neill said.

"Now we need to properly bounce back this weekend and everyone will be keen to enjoy a game of cricket and Stock have a nice ground.

"We have played there a couple of times on our way up to the Premier Division and they have a short boundary, which favours our batsmen as we have a few hitters, but we know they are strong at home.

"Having said that, they have lost there to Canvey this season, so we know it can be done and it is a nice place to travel out to, a good setting and we are looking forward to bouncing back after our game with Canvey."

On last weekend's walkover, O'Neill added: "It was a bit of a shock. I can't remember a situation like that, but I guess with Aythorpe Roding, they only have one XI so they are a bit vulnerable to having an exodus on a bank holiday weekend, although I can't remember them calling one off before.

"I didn't know what to do with myself, but I managed to drag myself over to watch the twos and a few of our guys got a game for the twos."

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