Essex Division One: Harold Wood captain Richard Brabner ready for important derby with Upminster

Harold Wood skipper Richard Brabner (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Harold Wood skipper Richard Brabner (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Both sides looking for key points in race for promotion

Harold Wood skipper Richard Brabner is expecting a close encounter with Upminster when the two sides clash in Essex Division One on Saturday.

Both sides are going well in the league, with Upminster top and Wood just four points adrift of Orsett in second, meaning this fixture could well be in the Premier Division next year.

Upminster, who are the visitors this weekend, were the victors when the sides met earlier in the season in a match that Brabner missed.

The Wood captain, though, will be in action this weekend and is confident a good game of cricket will be served up.

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“It’s a local derby, which makes it exciting and we normally enjoy close games with Upminster,” said Brabner.

“I missed the previous game against them earlier in the season, so I’m really looking forward to playing Upminster.

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“I’m sure everyone else will be up for the challenge too and whatever happens, we have to make sure we have given everything we could.”

Brabner was also absent last weekend when Wood’s promotion push hit the buffers with a surprise loss away to struggling Fives & Heronians.

The pitch at the Paddock heavily favours batsmen, and Wood’s bowlers toiled after being put into the field, conceding 342 runs.

Despite valiant efforts from Raihan Hussain (82) and stand-in skipper Shahbaz Khan (76), the visitors fell 60 runs short.

Brabner has been briefed on the display from Wood last weekend and, while ultimately disappointed with the result, says there are positives to take.

“Raihan and Shahbaz batted really well and we’re still fighting for second because other results went our way,” he added.

“If we’d only conceded around 300-310, we would have been happy as it’s quite a flat wicket at Fives and the boundaries are very short.”

And though Wood are no doubt keen to avoid successive losses this weekend, Brabner says it would not be the end of the world.

“After the weekend, there’ll be five games left so we’ll still have chances to claw our way back into contention.

“Everyone is focussed on making sure that we get the basics right against Upminster.

“Any chances which come our way have to be taken because it could come down to that in the end to decide the result.”

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