Murray out to make amends

PUBLISHED: 11:58 06 May 2011

Hornchurch wicketkeeper Paul Murray appeals

Hornchurch wicketkeeper Paul Murray appeals

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Hornchurch hope for better

It has been a case of so near, but yet so far for Hornchurch in recent years.

They missed out on promotion to the top flight by virtue of fewer wins than Chelmsford in 2008, after the two sides finished level on points.

There was some controversy, though, as Hornchurch were docked points in the final week of the season for late result sheets.

A year later they finished third again, edged out of the top two by Loughton by just two points.

And last year, Hornchurch were left to rue a slow start and three abandoned matches as they ended up fourth.

But captain Paul Murray, whose pre-season training included running the London Marathon along with teammate Dean Skipper, goes into the 2011 campaign as confident as ever and said: “I’ve said it for the last four years – I always fancy our chances and fingers crossed we can do it this time.

“We’ve had a couple of third places and a fourth in recent years and want to go one step better.

“We’re looking to push on a bit more this year after a slow start last time but I would say this is a slightly stronger division than last year.”

With local rivals Gidea Park & Romford, Harold Wood and Upminster for company, there will be no shortage of derbies this summer.

Murray added: “We’ve not played them much in the last few years, which makes it a bit more interesting, and derbies always get you up a bit more.

“Buckhurst Hill have got some good players as well, but we’ve got plenty of options.”

Hornchurch welcome New Zealand all-rounder Richard Sherlock back to the club after a spell three years ago and have signed Danny Evans, released by Middlesex at the end of last season, to share the new ball.

They had a baptism of fire in the league cup defeat at Ardleigh Green, though, where their combined 10 overs went for more than a century of runs.

Murray added: “It was a flat track over there and their batsmen took advantage. We knew it would be hard and hadn’t played so looked to use it as a bit of practice, but we didn’t get much!

“I imagine Richard and Danny will get 80-plus league wickets between them this year, though. They both bowl heavy balls.

“Billy Gordon has bowled well so far, so has Mark Whitlock. And Michael Bones is coming along nicely with his leg-spinners.

“We bat all the way down really and with the likes of Simon [Savides] and Sainsy [Chris Sains], there’s runs to be hard.

“We had a very good win at Harrow with a young side and hope the long line-up helps. Things are looking bright.”

Murray is certainly hoping the skies stay clear for tomorrow’s opener at Orsett, after being frustrated there last year.

“It’s always a test there and we’re hoping there’s no rain. We got about seven overs in last year and were 49-0. But [after a rain delay] they didn’t fancy it.”

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