Billericay are looking to bounce back from their derby defeat against Leigh when they travel to winless Horndon-on-the-Hill tomorrow.

Stewart Rutland’s side lost last weekend after winning two on the bounce but a poor batting performance from their top order once again hindered their progress, with only Paul Walter’s century putting leaving its mark on the scorecard.

Rutland says his batsmen have been working hard on their batting and aim to exploit the poor form of Horndon, who have lost five of their seven matches. A win could see Billericay climb to third in the division, with Hornchurch and Belhus already building healthy leads at the top of the table.

“This promises to be a really interesting game,” said Rutland. “We know we need to step up and improve our early batting and build a few scores, but we are working hard with the bat. Once we build a few partnerships we will head towards some very big scores.

“We are close to where we want to be. Once we have the balance between batting and bowling we will be challenging at the top. The great thing about this league is how close it is.”

Indeed, only 20 points separates third place and eighth place.

Leigh will be looking to win three in a row for the first time this season when they host Gidea Park & Romford.

The encounter promises to be enthralling, with the sides separated by only a single point after seven matches.

Dean Waller, who returned to lead Leigh to victory last time out, is in confident mood ahead of the match, with a win likely to lift them closer to the summit as the top two face off this weekend.

“Everyone is in with a shout at the moment and it is so nip and tuck at the top of the league,” said Waller. “It makes things more exciting and no game is easy to call.

“We welcome back Billy King and Hassan Mazhar to strengthen our line-up and I am confident we will come away with a win.”

Meanwhile Westcliff-on-Sea will be looking to get off the mark this weekend when they take on West Essex at Chalkwell Park.

Graham Cox’s side have endured a difficult start to the season after promotion last year, having taken only 38 points so far. And with a tricky fixture against third placed Orsett to follow next week, this is a match where points will be needed.