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Out of the Middle

PUBLISHED: 08:05 20 August 2013 | UPDATED: 08:05 20 August 2013

Upminster's Paul Middlemiss

Upminster's Paul Middlemiss

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So the return to 50 overs-a-side cricket brought a much needed win for the 1st XI on Saturday.

I said a few weeks ago that the change in format would suit them, and so it proved as they put in a brilliant performance against a side chasing the title (South Woodford).

I didn’t manage to see Billy’s knock but it sounds like it was a fine innings, and I then saw the second innings where all of the boys did a great job with the ball and in the field.

With Colchester’s defeat at Brentwood there is a bit of a gap at the bottom now, and I think one more win will secure Premier Division status for next season.

For the rest of the club the weekend was a little bit of a struggle, although it looks like we weren’t the only ones who had these issues!!

We managed to get all six league fixtures played with 11 in every side (in the end), while a look at PlayCricket shows many clubs played with nine and ten men (eight in one case)!!!

I think the V Festival and the T20 Finals Day played a part, but once again, I think it shows the League and it’s clubs need to look at the structure and set up of lower eleven cricket.

Too many games are played with sides not having 11 men, or calling off games entirely, and that is not good for the game.

Some clubs have raised this before and put forward potential changes to structures, but this has been ignored by other clubs. Maybe this weekend will bring this issue back into focus again??

With just three weeks of the season to go it is interesting to see how the other clubs in the Havering area are looking.

The surprise package is probably Harold Wood who are on an amazing run.

Having struggled in Division One two years back they would probably have been happy with a mid-table finish, but they now lie just three points off the top two, and have gone past local rivals Ardleigh Green in recent weeks.

Division Two is still wide open and Hornchurch and Gidea Park & Romford are both in the mix.

At the start of the Year I think most people would have fancied Hornchurch to gain promotion with the quality they have in their side, but despite a good run in the middle part of the season, they will need to win two or three of their remaining games to grab one of those top two places.

Gidea made a slow start, but like Harold Wood in the league above, they are now on a good run and if they win two or three games they will also be in with a shout.

Of course, the end of the season approaching also means it is nearly time for our annual Benefit Match against an Essex XI at Upminster Park.

The game is normally a great occasion and this year it takes place on Sunday September 1.

The Essex beneficiary this year is David Masters whose performances over the last few years have been a real highlight for many supporters, so I hope the public come out to support him and the club.


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