Captain O’Neill heaps praise on Rainham despite shades of Liverpool in fine season

Rainham's Jon O'Neill (left) and Jas Hothi celebrate a victory in the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League (pic

Rainham's Jon O'Neill (left) and Jas Hothi celebrate a victory in the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Rainham still have two games to play in the T.Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division in 2019, but captain Jon O’Neill is already extremely proud of their efforts.

The Spring Farm Park club have almost secured second spot in the top flight which is a far cry from five years ago.

In 2014, Rainham finished third from bottom in Division Two and only narrowly avoided relegation, but first under Jas Hothi and this season with O'Neill, they have gone from strength to strength.

Last weekend, they achieved a massive highlight with a superb win away to Springfield, after a victory against Bentley the week before, to continue their fine form.

"At the start of the season we talked about our goals and I probably would have accepted third," O'Neill said.

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"But to break up the Springfield and Bentley stranglehold has really exceeded our expectations. We have also won nine in a row now, so we've defeated every single team in the division and in other years we might have won the title.

"To have only lost twice is a great effort, so I'd compare us to Liverpool in that respect. I think we're a bit unlucky to be finishing empty-handed."

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Rainham will entertain Great Totham on Saturday knowing a victory over the basement club should seal runners-up behind champions-elect Springfield.

O'Neill added: "It will be hard to match the intensity of the last two fixtures, but Great Totham are a good side.

"They have found form because they've won their last two games and it was 13 or 14 without a win before that.

"It will be very different to the Bentley and Springfield matches, but we know we need to play to our best."

Rainham produced a battling performance at Coronation Park on Saturday to stun the soon-to-be champions of the top tier.

Hothi led the way with the bat, hitting 25, but the visitors were all out for 123 and a big display in the field was required and they got it with the hosts skittled for 83 as Bhavik Patel took three wickets.

"I said a couple of weeks back our season would be defined by the games against Bentley and Springfield and to come away with two wins is more than I hoped and expected," O'Neill said.

"We are a lot stronger this year and there is a great environment at the club."

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