Rainham aiming to kick on after year of consolidation, says O’Neill

Rainham players applaud a half century from Jon O'Neill during the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier

Rainham players applaud a half century from Jon O'Neill during the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

The new captain at Spring Farm Park admitted he was disappointed to see Goresbrook bid farewell to the Mid-Essex League Premier Division

Jon O'Neill believes Rainham can produce more stand-out results in the Mid-Essex League Premier Division this season.

The new captain at Spring Farm Park has been an integral part of Jas Hothi's team over the last few years and helped them make it to the top flight for 2018.

He has now stepped up to take over from the opening batsman and is eager to continue the fine work of his predecessor in their second campaign at this level.

"It was a decent season. Our first priority when we set out for the year was to avoid relegation and establish ourselves in the division," O'Neill said.

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"But as the season went on, I think we realised we actually could beat most teams and we beat the champions Springfield and that is one of our best results over the past few years.

"That definitely gives us confidence for this season that we can mix it with the big boys and it wasn't just that result either.

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"We had other games where we performed really well and we know we have the potential, so we have a lot of belief we can build on that fifth-place finish."

Rainham claimed 269 points in 2018 and won nine out of their 18 matches and only missed out on a top-four finish by six points.

O'Neill will hope his side can improve on that final placing by at least one position given the side who came directly above are no longer in the division.

Goresbrook finished 2018 in fourth, but have transferred to the Essex League Division Three and Rainham have lost one of their main rivals as a result.

While O'Neill admitted he was disappointed to see the local side move on, he believes it should aid Rainham's target of finishing fourth or maybe even higher.

He added: "It is a shame they have gone to the Essex League because they were our local rivals and we did really enjoy playing against them.

"I don't think we managed to beat them last season, but we had a few good games with them and I guess them leaving means one space higher for us would be parity this year, but we feel if we can do well, we can be alongside Springfield and Bentley.

"So if we can be consistent and beat the teams who finished below us last season then you never know what could happen in the games against the big teams. But our target is to establish ourselves and to try and take Goresbrook's place in the top four this year."

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