O’Neill challenges Rainham to stun sensational Springfield

Rainham's Ben Little is congratulated by captain Jon O'Neill (right) after claiming a wicket (pic: G

Rainham's Ben Little is congratulated by captain Jon O'Neill (right) after claiming a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Rainham fought back to beat Bentley by four runs at Spring Farm Park last weekend

Jon O'Neill believes Rainham can win at Springfield this weekend and postpone the hosts hopes of winning the T.Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division title.

The Spring Farm Park club are second in the table on 285 points after beating Bentley on Saturday, but still trail the leaders by 61.

It means if Springfield can beat Rainham tomorrow, it will secure them the title again, but O'Neill has other ideas.

He said: "We have won eight on the spin and if the team can't get up for this one we must be doing something wrong and we just want to try and get another scalp.

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"Springfield have been sensational this season and gave us a real hiding at our place, so it would be nice to give them a taste of their own medicine."

The previous encounter earlier in the campaign saw Rainham all out for 100 and eventually losing by 10 wickets on home turf.

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Since then, however, the Spring Farm Park club boast a wonderful record and saw off Bentley in an extremely close tie last time out.

Rainham batted first and could only score 107 with O'Neill's 32 a team best, but Bhavik Patel took six wickets to dismiss the visitors for 103.

"A few weeks back I said we hadn't had any close games all season and then we had Aythorpe Roding which was a thriller and now this one, so a one-wicket win and a four-run victory - it doesn't get much closer," O'Neill said.

"We could have come out the wrong side of the results and we would look at the season in a very different light, but I felt we were the better team on both occasions and I look around and think we have matchwinners and people who can perform under the biggest pressure.

"To beat Bentley for the first time is a sign of our improvement and it was an early finish, so we couldn't ask for much more!"

Although unlikely, Rainham are still not ruling out a title victory this season, especially because Springfield host Bentley in two weeks time on August 24.

O'Neill knows the chances are very small, but will not give up until it's completely over, which may turn out to be on Saturday.

"We are not mathematically out of contention for the title, especially if we won this game, but we would require Springfield to lose against Bentley and then on the final day," he said.

"It means we have half an eye on the title and this is one of the games where I don't need to motivate my team."

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