Hornchurch hope inspires all

PUBLISHED: 09:19 19 August 2011

Action at Horse Guards Parade

Action at Horse Guards Parade

2011 FIVB

Power to the People: Boulton at her best

It’s great to see athletes inspired to perform to their top levels.

Excitement is growing on the sports desk as the 2012 London Olympics draw closer by the week and even more so after one of our own hopefuls grabs centre stage.

Hornchurch’s Lucy Boulton, by her own admission in a very honest video diary recorded for the BBC, has not been having the greatest of seasons on the Swatch Beach Volleyball World Tour.

It sounds like a glamorous lifestyle, travelling the globe to play in these events, but it’s no fun when you’re not winning.

Boulton and her partner Denise Johns had suffered disappointments at several competitions so far this year, but they certainly came good last week.

And what a time to do it, with more eyes focused on their sport due to the London Prepares test event taking place at Horse Guards Parade.

Maybe it was the iconic setting in the capital, knowing these are the courts that will be used in the actual Games next summer, or maybe it was the extra bit of support from a home crowd.

Whatever it was, Boulton and Johns reeled off four wins – knocking out the 2008 Olympic bronze medallists along the way, a career-best effort – to reach the semi-finals.

They may not have ended up with a medal, but they found some belief and, having surrendered their No.1 British ranking earlier this year, will hope to feed off that to keep their hopes of appearing on the biggest stage of all in 343 days time: we certainly hope they do!

A new non-league football season will have come and gone by then and who knows where Hornchurch and Romford will stand in the grand scheme of things in nine months time.

Expectations appear to be high among the Hornchurch camp, for one.

Speaking with Jimmy McFarlane this week, ahead of the Urchins Ryman Premier Division opener at Cray on Sunday, one detected a fair degree of confidence from the boss.

They weren’t far off a play-off place last season, despite an up-and-down campaign, but appear to have added some handy performers to an already solid squad.

There has been a fair bit more upheaval at Romford, where Paul Martin has already said he will be giving youth its chance.

The bookmakers don’t appear to share his optimism, rating Boro as potential bottom-half finishers, but Martin and his men do like to prove the critics wrong.

But as one season starts, another ends, and it’s coming to crunch time for our local cricket clubs.

Sadly, four are in danger of relegation (two chronically so), but three can still end 2011 with some silverware.

Upminster may well have let the chance of promotion slip through their fingers, but they have a cup final date to look forward to on Bank Holiday Monday.

Meanwhile Havering, despite recent blips, can still gain promotion – possibly as champions – in the Mid-Essex League.

Noak Hill Taverners have already clinched promotion in the Essex County League and can start the trophy collection if they take just two points from their last game of the season.

With 12 successive wins under their belt, the champagne corks should be flying in Church Road this weekend!

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