Essex Division One: In-form Harold Wood excite captain Richard Brabner ahead of Fives & Heronians trip

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

Wood skipper believes promotion race could come down to the wire

Skipper Richard Brabner believes Harold Wood are firmly in the battle for promotion from Essex Division One after a seven-match unbeaten run has seen the club bulldoze their way into contention.

Wood have swept all before them in recent weeks as they look for a swift return to the Premier Division after relegation last year.

Strugglers Fives & Heronians are the next obstacle in the way for fourth-placed Wood as they chase Orsett, who lie just six points ahead in second.

Leaders Upminster are also back within sight too after a shock loss last weekend, with Wood now only 36 points adrift of their local rivals.

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And with the league’s top four sides, including Southend in third, so tightly packed, Brabner believes the race for promotion will come down to the final day of the season.

“We’re in form and we’re excited by it. There’s probably four teams all going for promotion now, so it’s going to be a fight until the end.”

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Despite the sides being at opposite ends of the table, Wood know they have to be wary of the threat posed by Fives tomorrow (Saturday) after the sides drew in May.

Brabner admits Wood were fortuitous to avoid defeat that day, having closed on 193-8 when chasing 254 for victory at home.

But the skipper, who will miss Saturday’s match, insists there will be no repeat display this time around at The Paddock, noting that Wood were struggling for form at the time of the first clash.

“We’re on a good run now, whereas we weren’t back then and it was a poor display from us on the day,” added the bowler.

“If we want to beat Fives, then we have to make sure that we take any chances that come our way, both with the bat and the ball.”

In Brabner’s absence, Shahbaz Khan will lead the team once again as they seek a fourth league win in a row.

And though he will not be playing, Brabner believes the wicket at The Paddock will favour the batsmen on both sides.

“It’s a batsman-friendly pitch at Fives, but we know we have to keep performing at the levels we have been if we want to win.

“Harry Thompson will make his debut for us this weekend and we’re excited to see what he can do and hopefully he can help us achieve another win.”

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