Gidea Park and Romford CC win promotion back to division one
- Credit: Warren Radden
Gidea Park and Romford CC have been promoted back into Hamro Foundation Essex Cricket division one after finishing as runners up in division two this season.
Captain Jamal Francis and his side finished the campaign with 13 wins, three cancelled games, one abandoned match and just one defeat.
“Relegation from division one on the final day of the 2019 season was difficult and painful to take,” Francis admitted.
“We missed out on staying up by three points but in reality we hadn’t played well enough throughout the season.
“As with any relegation, you have some turnover of players. We manage to retain the backbone of our team - those members who have represented GPRCC for a number of years now.
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“We then had a very strong recruitment building towards the 2020 season bringing in Frankie Hazle, Will Chuter and Sachin Vaja.
“Losing a competitive season in 2020 was frustrating but the nine-game friendly season gave us a chance to bed everyone in and build towards this year.
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“We also decided that this season we would look to bring in an overseas player. We’d not had an overseas since Shawn Findlay in 2016 and it was a risk, what with the situation changing constantly under Covid, but early in 2021 we secured the signing of overseas professional Hasitha Nirmal from Sri Lanka.
“Hasi fitted into the team perfectly from day one and has had an outstanding season scoring amount of 801 runs and taking 43 wickets.”
He added: “It would have been nice to win the league but congratulations to Wickford, they’re a very good team and we’re looking forward to playing them again next season.”
Gidea Park are already preparing for their return back to division one next term.
“We have a big problem with the drainage at Gallows Corner so we’re getting an independent survey carried out.
“Once we understand the extent of the problem we’ll speak to Havering Council to see what options there are.
“We estimate that across all our teams we’ve lost around 20 home games this season and for a community club trying to provide access to cricket, that’s a lot to lose."
Steve McCormack is departing after 20 years with the club to move back to Manchester.
“We said thanks and good luck to Steve McCormack at the final game last weekend.
"Steve’s moving back to Manchester after 20 years with us as a player, captain, secretary and since 2010, our scorer."