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Roy Smith sure Hornchurch Cricket Club can end Essex League Premier Division strongly after latest blow

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 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 outfit will be without captain this weekend and Tom Moore again after he was selected to represent Essex County Cricket Club

Roy Smith has backed Hornchurch to return to winning ways in the Essex League Premier Division when they visit struggling South Woodford tomorrow (Saturday).

The Harrow Lodge Park outfit will be without their captain, however, as he has family commitments, which means Paul Murray leads the side.

Although Hornchurch have lost their last two matches, they remain second in the standings ahead of facing lowly South Woodford.

Joe Craddock’s men are bottom of the table with just 101 points, but produced an excellent display to beat defending champions Chelmsford by three wickets last weekend.

“We need to get this Chingford defeat out of our heads now and we want to try and finish the season as strong as we can,” said Smith.

Hornchurch hoped to have Tom Moore available for their match this weekend as he missed their loss to Chingford after Essex asked for the bowler to be rested.

But the County Championship Division Two outfit picked the 24-year-old for their fixture with Sussex at Castle Park which started yesterday (Thursday).

Smith flew out to Cyprus for his daughter’s 21st birthday yesterday and wicket-keeper Murray will take over as captain, having last appeared for the first team in the league on July 2 at home to Brentwood.

Murray has been struggling a hand injury since, but played for the seconds on Saturday and top scored with 71 at Loughton, although he did not keep wicket.

“Unfortunately I’m in Cyprus this weekend because it is my daughter’s 21st birthday and we’re having a big family bash,” said Smith.

“She lives in Australia and I’ve not seen her for two years so I’m really looking forward to it.

“Paul will be captain, he is at around 80 per cent in terms of fitness, but will do a good job and has done it before.”

Although Smith will not be present at South Woodford, he wants his team to try and push leaders Wanstead as far as possible in the title race.

The Herons are top of the pile on 226 points with Hornchurch next best, but trailing the leaders by 42 ahead of the weekend.

Smith added: “The plan was to try and see if we could get into a position where we could challenge for the title. I think If we can remain over halfway and finish in the top three or four then I think we’ve had a pretty good season.”

Hornchurch didn’t take too many positives following their defeat at home to Chingford last Saturday, but Smith did praise the performance of Billy Gordon.

The all-rounder has been a key performer all year for the Harrow Lodge Park club and shone again despite struggling with injury.

Gordon picked up a knee injury when bowling and could only get through three overs as Chingford posted 296-3.

Although he wasn’t 100 per cent fit, the ex-Upminster player scored 75 and was praised by his captain despite the hosts finishing on 285-8.

Smith added: “Billy is a class act and the injury did trouble him a bit when he was batting.

“We couldn’t go for any quick singles or turn twos into threes, but he soldiered on and it was another good innings. When you look at it, Chingford did bowl in some decent areas.”

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