For the second week in a row the 1st XI face a local derby, as they travel to Gallows Corner to face old friends Gidea Park and Romford. Nicky Ison's side were denied a probable victory last week by the rain, while Gidea were well beaten by Hutton at the Polo Ground. However, Gidea did put in an outstanding performance three weeks ago in the League Cup, where they fell to a one run defeat against Wanstead and Snaresbrook, so will provide Upminster with stern opposition. Upminster hope to name an unchanged side for the Division One Fixture.
It is also a local derby for the 2nd XI, as Hornchurch come to Upminster Park. Rain also ruined any chance of a result in last week's opener for Ollie Peck's side, while Hornchurch suffered the same fate in their contest with Shenfield. Hornchurch cruised to the Division One title last season, and with prolific run scorer Paul Murray in their ranks they will be looking to make an impression in the top flight this term. Max Carter Miller and Jake Giddings make welcome returns for the home side.
The 3rd XI make the journey up the A12 to Nutter lane to face Wanstead and Snaresbrook. Josh Lamont's side were the only winners in the Premier Division last week, as they brushed aside Harlow at Coopers School. Wanstead had a tougher afternoon, eventually securing a rain affected draw at Woodford Wells, but away victories at Nutter Lane are always hard to come by. Lamont is absent this week, so old hand Mark D'Cruz will skipper the side.
Wanstead and Snaresbrook also provide the opposition for the 4th XI, as they come to Coopers School. The 4th XI managed to find a window of dry weather long enough to lose at Old Southendians last week, despite three wickets for Kevin Roome. Meanwhile the weather bought a halt to Wanstead's game with Billericay, which had looked set for an exciting finish. Stalwarts David Foss, Chris Ryan and Rob Tuffee make their first appearances of the season for the home side.
It was a frustrating afternoon last week for the 5th XI as they fielded through drizzle at Buckhurst Hill before heavy rain stopped their innings commencing. They will hope for better luck this week as they welcome Ilford 4s to Campion. Ilford lost a low scoring affair with West Essex last week, so will be looking to kick-start their season.
But for the rain the 6th XI may well have picked up an opening day win last week against Chingford, and they make the short journey along Hall Lane to face Harold Wood 5s. Paul Scott faces a late fitness test for the visitors.
All SNEL games begin at 12.30pm once again.
Sunday sees the opening exchanges in WW III take place. First up it's a repeat of the 2017 Final as favourites and two time finalists the Chairman's Choice take on last year's winners, the Hunter Hurricanes. Both teams will be under new leadership for the 2018 campaign so an intriguing contest is in prospect.
That game will begin at 12.30pm (in a change to your Fixture Cards) and will be followed by the newest franchise, the Kushoom Bugh Tigers, taking on the mercurial Apple Finance Firebirds. Both these teams have struggled in the first two seasons (the Tigers under their former guise of the Kings), but the Birds form improved late in last year's competition and the Tigers picked up some excellent picks at last week's Draft Night. It therefore promises to be an interesting clash, with plenty of characters on display for both sides.
Updated 08:29 - 21 May 2018 by Paul Middlemiss