Relegation-threatened Upminster eye league double over Hutton
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
The eighth-placed side in the Shepherd Neame Essex League Division One will hope to record a victory at Polo Field Ground
Upminster travel to Hutton on Saturday knowing they need a win from the next handful of matches in the Shepherd Neame Essex League Division One to remain in the second tier, writes George Sessions.
Ollie Peck's side picked up 11 points last weekend, but still lost at home to Harold Wood and are now only just above Loughton in the table.
Eighth-placed Upminster are 10 points better off than the sides in the relegation zone and are desperate for a turnaround in form soon.
A repeat of the past clash with Hutton in June would be welcomed with the strugglers winning by 46 runs at home.
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James Evans and Shahbaz Butt hit half-centuries as the hosts posted 261-9 from their 50 overs before the visitors were dismissed for 215.
Hutton are only two spots higher than Upminster in the standings, but hold a 50-point advantage over them and are virtually assured of safety.
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A defeat at home to Harold Wood last time out dragged Peck's men closer to second from bottom Loughton, who have picked up of late.
The fixture was delayed by 30 minutes and the overs split so Upminster, who won the toss and batted first, had 45 and the visitors then had 41 in reply to chase.
Opener Evans produced a solid knock of 54 at the top, facing 101 balls, and allowed others down the order to bat around him.
Louis Pickering made the most of this and smashed a superb 49 off 37 balls, which included five fours and two sixes, but was out one short of a fifty.
Two maximums by Nicky Ison got Upminster up to a final total of 186-7, but it was not enough to defeat Wood.
Pickering impressed on his way to 3-54 while captain Peck claimed 2-44, but Shahbaz Khan showed his class and hit an unbeaten 71 to see his side over the line in a close game.
Harold Wood secured the win with nine balls left and three wickets in hand, but Upminster at least came away from 11 points.
With three matches still to play, captain Peck will hope his key players can step up to the mark against Hutton, who are captain by ex-Upminster all-rounder Julian Whetstone.
Connor Whetstone, Julian's brother, is also set to face his former club on Saturday at the Polo Field Ground.
The siblings spent two years at Upminster in 2016 and 2017 and impressed before a return to Hutton two summers ago.