Woodford chopped down by Hornchurch

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith hits out against Shenfield (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith hits out against Shenfield (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Essex League Division One: Hornchurch 253-5 Woodford Wells 252-3

Hornchurch captain Roy Smith continued his good form by scoring 84 not out against Woodford Wells yesterday (Saturday) to guide his side to a five-wicket success over their rivals in the Essex League Division One.

The Harrow Lodge Park outfit were indebted to their skipper once again, but valuable contributions by Michael Bones (48) and Paul Walter (58) also played a key part in the league leaders’ triumph.

Woodford Wells, one of four sides chasing promotion this year, only lost three wickets in their innings, but could only muster 252 from their 50 overs.

Away captain Joe Johnson won the toss and decided to bat first with the wicket looking in top conditions and the sun shining.

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Although Christopher Briggs went early to Walter (1-29), Johnson and Brent Thompson formed a solid partnership for the second wicket.

The pair would go on to put on 149 before the Wells skipper departed when Marc Whitlock caught him off Taqi Abbas (1-52) for 69 off 116 balls.

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Thompson continued on his merry way, though, but fell eight runs short of a century when Whitlock (1-52) bowled him.

Peter McDermott (45*) and Jonathan Gaffney (20*) ensured the wickets column wouldn’t be troubled anymore, however, they failed to increase the tempo enough in the final 10 overs and the visitors ended their innings on 252-3.

It never seemed like enough, but Wells started magnificently and Hornchurch’s top three went for a combined total of nine runs with Donovan Miller claiming two scalps.

Walter and Bones came together for the fourth wicket, though, and dug in to get their side out of tricky situation and into a more secure position.

The run rate was never going to be a problem but Walter had no trouble finding the boundary rope and smashed three four’s in the 17th over to accelerate into the forties.

He would go on to hit 58 before mistiming one and giving Gaffney a simple catching opportunity. That brought Smith to the crease with 145 runs still required.

Hornchurch’s captain attacked from the off and started playing his shots while Bones dug in at the other end, determined to get his side to the finish line.

The pair pushed the Wells fielders to their limit and picked up various quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over nicely.

Smith did get a lifeline on 34 when he failed to properly connect with a hook shot, but an away fielder was unable to grasp the catch and it would prove costly.

Bones went just two short of a deserved fifty when looking to get another quick single with Miller, who picked up 2-40, hitting the stumps from close range.

It was a fine innings by Hornchurch’s number five off 70 balls to get them into a comfortable position, and when Max Osborne joined Smith at the crease the hosts only needed 76 more runs.

The sixth wicket pair brought the 200 up in the 37th over as runs started to flow and Wells knew they had missed their moment.

Osborne started to find the boundary with ease now and Smith crunched a huge six to show he was wasting no time and the duo ensured no more dramas for Hornchurch as they cruised home with 47 balls remaining.

Osborne finished with a brisk 32 off 29 balls as the Division One leaders warmed up for today’s T20 Final’s Day at Billericay with their 10th league success of the campaign.

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