We need to be switched on warns Hornchurch captain Gordon
- Credit: TGS Photo
Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon wants to see a big improvement when his side host Hamro Foundation Essex League Premier Division basement boys Shenfield on Saturday.
A 49-run defeat at Hutton last weekend has left Hornchurch in seventh place, 27 points off second place but only 35 points above the bottom two with six games remaining.
And although winless Shenfield looked doomed some 57 points adrift at the foot of the table, Gordon has warned his players to be ready.
"We need a much better performance on Saturday," he said.
"We don't want to be dragged into a relegation battle and can't take Shenfield lightly. We need to be switched on."
Hornchurch were sent into the field at the Polo Field Ground on another warm day, but Gordon (2-45), George Hankins (2-38) and Adeel Malik (2-69) made inroads to reduce the hosts to 113-6.
And when Marc Whitlock (2-73) removed opener Benjamin Parry for 78 to make it 123-7 in the 36th over, Hornchurch appeared well on top.
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But Cameron Tredgett, Thomas Debenham (34), Connor Whetstone (45 not out) and last man James Southgate dug in to ensure Hutton saw out 64 overs to post 249-9.
"We let them off the hook. It wasn't really a 249 pitch," added Gordon.
"From having them in a position to bowl them out, we just lack that seamer to finish off the tail.
"I've been playing with a bit of an injury, just ambling in because I've got to with no other seamer. It's been a nightmare all season.
"We fielded terribly, absolutely shocking. It was lightning quick and a small ground, any mistake costs you a boundary. We're not the most agile in the league."
Paul Murray was caught in the slips off Debenham early in the Hornchurch reply, with opening partner Ronnie Saunders falling cheaply to Sean Sullivan two overs later.
Jalpesh Vijay hit six fours in a quick 28 off 14 balls, but he and Hankins fell to Sullivan, while Viraj Gandhi dismissed Luke Edwards and Gordon.
When Malik fell for a third-ball duck to Julian Whetstone in the 19th over, Hornchurch were in disarray at 82-7, but Mark James and Ositadinma Onwuzulike dug in to share 92 for the eighth wicket.
James made 37, while Onwuzulike hit three sixes and 10 fours in an entertaining 47-ball 67 before falling to Sullivan (4-49), with Hornchurch all out for 200.
"Those two stayed in for a while and you start thinking 'what if?' but we knew it would be a tough task," added Gordon.
"There was a ridge at one end and it kept taking off. We're not the best at sticking around. We bat at a fast pace and don't really dig in as much. It wasn't a very good performance."