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Roy Smith's back, but Hornchurch Cricket Club missing key men for Essex League Premier Division clash with Ilford reveals Paul Murray

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 August 2016

Roy Smith of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Roy Smith of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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

Harrow Lodge Park wicket-keeper full of praise for Rashidi Boucher and discusses how difficult it can be in Premier Division

Hornchurch will have captain Roy Smith back for their Essex League Premier Division clash at home to Ilford tomorrow (Saturday) as they aim to halt their run of recent poor form.

The Harrow Lodge Park outfit have slipped down to fourth place after sitting behind leaders Wanstead for much of the campaign.

They saw struggling South Woodford chase 302 to beat them last weekend and Hornchurch host an Ilford side also suffering mixed form.

Paul Murray skippered the side in Smith’s absence on Saturday and knows the 2015 Division One champions cannot underestimate anybody.

“Roy is back this week, but me and Marc Whitlock are away unfortunately so we might be a little bit light again,” said Murray.

“I’m not sure about Tom Moore or Paul Walter either. They could both have Essex commitments again.

“You’re always going to get a hard game in this division. I believe near enough anybody can beat anybody on their day. I think you only have to look at Chingford beating us twice to see that and they’re bottom.

“With South Woodford, we bowled them out for 67 in the first game and second time around they’ve chased 300. It just goes to show how tough this league is and the team that is most consistent will be the one to win it.”

Things had started so well for Murray last weekend at the Shed as the stand-in Hornchurch captain won the toss and decided to bat first.

Rashidi Boucher stole the show for the visitors as he smashed an unbeaten 109 off just 75 balls – hitting 10 sixes and seven fours.

Murray led from the front with 40 at the top of the order, while Billy Gordon (30) and Michael Bones (25) chipped in with useful runs as Hornchurch posted 301-7.

At the halfway stage it looked like a decent target, but with the bowling attack weakened by the absence of Walter and Moore, it was not going to be easy.

South Woodford’s Peter Lazarus hit an excellent unbeaten 116 to see his team home by five wickets with just over two overs remaining.

Whitlock claimed 2-58 and the stand-in captain, who is usually behind the stumps, also picked up a wicket, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a third consecutive league loss.

Murray added: “Saturday was massively frustrating and we had a lot of bowlers unavailable, which didn’t help. We had to take a couple of young lads with us and you know it is bad when I have to bowl five overs!

“I won the toss and had spoken to a few of the boys before and it looked like the pitch would break up as the match progressed.

“We batted first and set a brilliant target – well what looked to be a really good total I thought! Rashidi was different class again, though, and it was a pleasure to watch his innings.

“Three of the last five weeks, he has been unbelievable and that is what you want from your overseas.”

Although Murray will miss tomorrow’s clash with Ilford, he was pleased to return last weekend at South Woodford.

He added: “It is nice to come back from injury and after being a little bit of a naughty boy! It was still a bit sore.

“I think that is the gloves put down for the rest of the season, but good to be back with the bat and involved with the first team again.”

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