Upminster captain Ison relishing return at Woodford Wells

Upminster face the camera before their win over Gidea Park & Romford

Upminster face the camera before their win over Gidea Park & Romford - Credit: Lee Power

Upminster captain Alan Ison is relishing his return to the side as they visit Woodford Wells this weekend.

Ison had to look on from the boundary as Upminster began the Hamro Foundation Essex League Division One season with a derby win over Gidea Park & Romford.

But he saw young Ollie Todd (2-38) produce a good new-ball spell and South African all-rounder JJ Smuts (3-25) finish as the pick of the bowling as the visitors closed on 242-9.

Ubaid Kiani (86) and Park skipper Jamal Francis (43) had shared 81 for the fourth wicket and Frankie Hazel (22) played a cameo innings to see them reach 174-4, before three wickets fell for just one run.

Smuts then smacked four big sixes and seven fours in his entertaining 83 off 68 balls, dominating a 126-run opening stand with Pulkit Gupta.

James Evans (44 not out) added 101 with Gupta, who hit two sixes and 12 fours in his 106 off 95 balls, to steer the hosts to their target with 10 overs to spare.

And Ison said: "I was very pleased. It's always nice to get off to a good start in the league.

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"Ollie Todd had probably his best spell and we did well to keep them to 240, which was below par on that wicket.

"Pulkit and JJ had an unbelievable partnership and it was nice to see 'PK' get his hundred to give him confidence for the season."

Wells were also off to a winning start last weekend, beating Ilford by 18 runs in their derby at Valentines Park.

And Ison expects a good contest on Saturday, adding: "I can't wait to play this weekend. It will be good getting back into it and hopefully we can get another win.

"Wells have got some good players in Joe Johnson, Gareth James and some of their youngsters. They will be full of confidence after beating Ilford in their first game and it's a nice place to play, so we're looking forward to it.

"Me and Ellis are both available again so we've had to drop a couple of the boys but they have taken it well and we hope to move forward this weekend."

Sunday sees Upminster start its latest Windmill Whack inter-club competition, with Ison lining up for the Elite Eagles against Chairman's Choice at 1.30pm.

Hunter Hurricanes face Kushoom Bugh Tigers at 4.30pm and Ison said: "The Windmill Whack is always good fun. The women started theirs last weekend and there's a nice atmosphere at the club at the moment."