Curtis seeking home comforts

Upminster captain John Curtis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Upminster captain John Curtis (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Upminster have dropped into bottom two and in need of success against Shenfield on Saturday

Upminster captain John Curtis has challenged his side to win four of their remaining eight Essex League Division One fixtures to avoid relegation.

After coming down from the Premier Division last season, the aim for this campaign was to consolidate as a team. But defeat at title hopefuls Southend last weekend, saw Upminster drop into the bottom two.

However, there is no need to panic just yet, as Upminster are only nine points behind fifth-placed Harlow going into their home game against Shenfield tomorrow (Saturday).

Curtis said: “We seem to play better at home so that is a good thing for this weekend and I just feel when we bat first we are much stronger.

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“There is less pressure on the batsmen that way, so it would be good to win the toss and bat first on Saturday, but I am sure they will want to do the same.

“They are having a really good season. They are right on Southend’s tail, they lost to Hornchurch last week, but have been doing well.

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“I expect it to be them and Southend going for promotion. From what I have seen Shenfield are the second best team in the league so it is going to be tough for us.

“I’m not worried about relegation at the moment, but as the games pass, you do get a bit more concerned. We probably need to win four of our last eight games to be ok and I believe we can do that.”

Will Chuter took 5-33 to help bowl Southend out for 223, but only Frank Hazel (79) offered any real resistance with the bat as Upminster were bowled out for 166.

Curtis was disappointed with the 57-run defeat, especially because at halfway he was hopefully his side could claim another win.

But only Shafiq Raham (26) was able to stick around for a significant time with Hazel and Upminster’s skipper is now without the young duo.

He added: “The only shame is they are both going away on a rugby tour now. I knew about it ages ago, but after one taking five wickets and the other hitting 79 it basically sums up how our season has gone.

“We didn’t have anyone else support Frankie. Only two other batsman made double figures.

“It is disappointed because we have played Southend twice this season and at halfway in both we’ve thought we are on top, but we haven’t been able to carry that on.

“We just can’t seem to put both batting and bowling together and chasing anything we seem to struggle. It is the pressure and a few people haven’t got a score for a couple of weeks so they are feeling it.”

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