Hornchurch captain Gordon hoping for good start at Hadleigh

Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon (left) celebrates a wicket against Fives & Heronians

Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon (left) celebrates a wicket against Fives & Heronians - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Billy Gordon hopes Hornchurch can get their Hamro Foundation Essex League Premier Division season off to a good start at Hadleigh on Saturday.

The Harrow Lodge club have eased into the quarter-finals of the Dukes Essex League Cup with comfortable wins over Fives & Heronians and Old Southendian over the past fortnight and beat Finchley in the ECB National Club Championship.

Opening batters Ronnie Saunders (185) and Paul Murray (189) have been in the runs, but Gordon knows they face a tougher test against a Hadleigh side who finished eight points above them in fourth place last summer.

Ronnie Saunders has been in fine form with the bat for Hornchurch

Ronnie Saunders has been in fine form with the bat for Hornchurch

He said: "Hadleigh are a really good side to be fair. Their bowling attack is very good and it will be difficult on their pitch.

"We've had a brilliant start, the batting couldn't have gone better, Ronnie and Muzza have been good, the only negative is none of us can get in to get some form!

Hornchurch wicketkeeper Paul Murray has been in fine form with the bat

Hornchurch wicketkeeper Paul Murray has been in fine form with the bat - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

"Hopefully it will set us in good stead for the season. We need to be on our game and hopefully we can come away with the points."

Hornchurch have added former Gloucestershire batter George Hankins to their squad this year, with Jalpesh Vijay also joining from Middlesex League side Crouch End.

George Hankins (centre) celebrates a wicket for Hornchurch against Fives & Heronians

George Hankins (centre) celebrates a wicket for Hornchurch against Fives & Heronians - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

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And they are hoping to have another piece of their puzzle in place for this weekend, with Gordon adding: "George has settled in well and Jalpesh is a very good player who fits in nicely with the team.

"We're waiting for our overseas to get his visa, a quick bowler from Pakistan, and hopefully he will be here for Saturday.

"When we've got a full side, hopefully we can be up near the top pushing Brentwood, Wanstead and Chelmsford, but it will be difficult.

"Brentwood look a really classy side, but you never know. If we can stick in there, we will see what happens. The last four or five years we have done alright."

Having won an Essex League treble in Gordon's first year as skipper in 2018, they were League Cup runners-up a year later and lifted the T20 Cup in the Covid-shortened 2020 season.

And Gordon says there is more good young talent coming through the ranks to keep an eye out for.

"Dylan Mansell is opening the bowling for the twos. He's only 14, a left-armer and quite new to cricket," he added.

"This is only his second year but he is naturally very good and with a bit of coaching has come on during the winter.

"George Barnacle got a ton for the twos last week and we need that, pushing the boys to keep performing and keeping the club strong throughout."