Hornchurch keep hopes on track
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Upminster lose to promotion-chasing Southend
Hornchurch maintained their relentless pursuit of the Essex League Division One title with a 44-run win at promotion rivals Shenfield.
Captain Roy Smith chose to bat first after winning the toss against his former club and saw Jamie Sorrell hit five fours in his quickfire 25 before falling to Tom Austin.
Billy Gordon was run out soon after, with Ronnie Saunders becoming Austin’s second victim to leave Hornchurch 53-3.
Smith then joined Paul Walter in the middle and the fourth-wicket pair put on 123 in quick time, a week after both hit hundreds in a double century stand against Southend.
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Tall left-hander Walter hit three sixes and six fours in his 69 from 73 balls, before succumbing to Richard Abson-Bennett, with Max Osborne following cheaply to leave Hornchurch 193-5.
Smith hit four sixes and 10 fours to reach 91 off 84 balls, before falling to Arshad Ali, who added the scalp of Chris Sains soon after.
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Michael Bones then played a cameo innings of 36 off 30 balls, hitting five fours, to help Hornchurch close on 293 as Ali (3-48) and Abson-Bennett (3-85) finished as the pick of the Shenfield bowling.
Gordon dismissed Jamie Walton cheaply at the start of Shenfield’s reply and Ali had to retire out after only facing 11 balls.
But Ollie Ekers (43) and Byron Wyngard (84) put on 118, before both fell to spinner Mark Whitlock (2-48).
Bones (2-29) sent Suhaib Sarwar and Haris Mahmood packing from successive balls to leave Shenfield 173-5 and although captain Jack Kliber (20) and Matthew Salisbury (28) made starts, Hornchurch were not to be denied.
Osborne (3-54) finished with the best figures for the visitors, who remain 31 points clear of Southend after their win over Upminster.
Will Chuter (5-33) claimed his first five-wicket haul for Upminster as Southend were dismissed for 223, with Shafiq Rahman (3-38) also enjoying success with the ball.
But youngster Frank Hazel (79), Rahman (26 not out) and Nick O’Dell were the only Upminster batsmen to reach double figures as they were sent to a 57-run defeat.