Roy Smith hoping for home comforts for Hornchurch Cricket Club and more West Indian fireworks from Rashidi Boucher
PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 July 2016
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2015 Division One champions face two big matches this weekend in different Essex League competitions
Hornchurch captain Roy Smith is hoping to make Harrow Lodge Park a fortress this week, but expects two tough encounters.
The 2015 Essex League Division One champions host fourth-placed Colchester in the Premier Division tomorrow (Saturday).
And then on Sunday, Hornchurch entertain Chelmsford in the last eight of the League Cup with a potential clash against South Woodford or Shenfield in the semi-finals.
Smith’s first focus is on the bread and butter of the Premier Division with his team still second and only 14 points behind Wanstead, but just one ahead of Chelmsford in third.
“Colchester will definitely be a strong test, they gave us a good game at their place earlier in the season,” said Hornchurch’s captain.
“They have some very good players and we need to be at our best if we want to win the match.
“Our plan is to put together a little run of results and put some pressure on the likes of Chelmsford, Wanstead and Colchester, plus the other sides up there.
“If we can do that then we might force them to slip up in the race and we can continue to challenge.”
After the Colchester match, Hornchurch will prepare to do battle with Chelmsford again after having a Premier Division fixture with them abandoned on June 25.
Smith’s side were on the verge of tasting defeat and the holders fully expect another difficult clash on Sunday to decide who reaches the last four of this year’s competition.
He added: “Obviously it is an advantage to be at home, but we’re expecting a tough game. They are the defending league champions, so have a very strong side.
“After having the better of the abandoned match recently, we know just how good a team they are. We are going to have to be at our best to compete with them first of all, before we even think about winning and progressing in the cup.”
If Hornchurch are to win at home to Chelmsford they could do with another impressive performance from Rashidi Boucher.
The West Indian smashed 114 off 99 balls on Saturday as Smith’s men posted 301-5 at Buckhurst Hill, who were restricted to 232-8.
Michael Bones added 66 and Paul Walter struck 65 for Hornchurch as they got back to winning ways.
Mo Shah shone with the ball up against his old club and finished with 2-41 from his 10 overs, while Marc Whitlock picked up 2-66 as Smith’s men sealed a 69-run win.
“Rashidi is settling in now. The weather has not been great for him, he prefers the ball coming on more,” added Smith.
“You do have to adjust when you are playing in a different country and finally he is starting to realise you need to do that. He did eventually let fly at the weekend.
“He did the hard work, looked comfortable and cashed in towards the end. We had wickets in hand so could go for it and that’s why I always say wickets in hand are important.
“It’s what we wanted to see from Rashidi and now he has settled in hopefully he can continue to be in the runs for us.”
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