Upminster’s first three senior sides face an important round of matches for differing reasons this Saturday. After last week’s defeat to Gidea Park and Romford there is much work to be done yet before the 1st XI can be sure of their Division One spot for 2020. They welcome Harold Wood to Upminster Park as the format of all SNEL matches turns to the timed/red ball set up. Upminster’s first win of the season came with a thrilling in over Harold Wood back in June when Louis Pickering starred with the ball. Since then Upminster’s form has been up and down, and they currently sit 21 points above the relegation spots. Wood looked favourites for promotion at the start of the month, but two defeats in their last two games, to in form sides Woodford Wells and Colchester, have seen them slip down to fourth place, and they will be looking for a win to get their promotion hopes back on track.
The 2nd XI missed a golden chance to move towards safety last week when they lost to fell strugglers Wickford. Despite four wickets for the Big Show, Josh Lamont, Upminster’s frail batting was once again exposed and led to a costly defeat. They will be looking to put things right as they make the short journey to face Hornchurch at Harrow Lodge Park. Hornchurch have been well led by Kevin Shallow this season, and with Paul Murray’s runs at the top of the order the side have mounted a serious challenge for the title. They slipped up last week though, losing a thrilling game to Ilford, a result which did no favours for Upminster either. Both sides will be looking for a victory for very different reasons.
Ollie White’s 3rd XI continue to defy the odds and are still in with a genuine chance of retaining their Premier Division crown with four weeks of the season to go. They travel to Chelmer Park tomorrow to face Chelmsford, and will be looking to keep the pressure on leaders Brentwood. Upminster picked up a crucial win last week, brushing aside Wanstead and Snaresbrook at Coopers. This came on the back of an impressive win the previous week when they overcame Hornchurch. Chelmsford find themselves in the unusual position of sitting at the foot of the table as the season enters it’s final stage. The side who won six consecutive titles not so long ago have had a difficult season, and despite some improved form of late, they fell to a 56 run defeat at Harlow last week. Upminster will know though that wins at Chelmer Park are never easy to pick up, and a difficult afternoon is in prospect.
The 4th XI’s form has tailed off in recent weeks, but they still sit nicely in the top half of the table as they prepare to welcome Orsett and Thurrock 3s to Coopers. Orsett are hunting for promotion, and the title, and currently sit in second place in the table following a comfortable win over Belhus last weekend. Upminster fell to defeat at Wanstead and Snaresbrook, but Ian Munn has been in fine form in recent weeks and captain Stewart Hammond will be hoping that continues for the rest of the season.
The result of the last weekend came from the 5th XI as their eight men overcame South Woodford 4s. With captain Alex Bottoms missing unwell, stand in skipper Alex Ward was inspired by the appointment and smashed 101 as his side won by 91 runs. That result has kept the 5s in the top half of the table, and with a game in hand over leaders Oakfield Parkonians there is still an outside chance they could make a late push for the title. First though they must overcome West Essex 3s who themselves are pushing for the top spot. They surprisingly lost last week at Buckhurst Hill so will be looking to bounce back this weekend.
On Sunday the Sunday League side entertain Rainham at Upminster Park. Upminster have secured their spot in the end of season play offs but will be looking to secure a home tie in the semi-finals, while Rainham need a win and other results to go their way if they are to prolong their season.