Captain James Wilkins hopes first win will be a platform for further Benfleet success

James Wilkins, seen batting for Benfleet, will be looking for Benfleet's second win when they play Oakfield Parkonians today

James Wilkins, seen batting for Benfleet, will be looking for Benfleet's second win when they play Oakfield Parkonians today

First published in Sport by

BENFLEET will be determined to build on their first Shepherd Neame Essex League Division Three win of the season when they host Oakfield Parkonians today.

James Wilkins' team defeated Woodford Green by 36 runs and the skipper said their first victory in seven attempts had boosted morale.

"The lads were buzzing after the match," said Wilkins, whose team are still bottom of the table.

"It was a real lift for everyone and I expect us to push on now.

"We host Oakfield Parkonians today and I have every confidence that we can beat them."

And he added: "We are not the best team in the league but we are not a bottom of the table side. Hopefully we can now get a few more wins and move up the table."

Wilkins said despite the team batting down the order, it had been batting which had let his side down this summer.

But he has seen signs of an improvement with the bat which he believes bodes well for the remainder of the season.

Old Southendian & Southchurch are third in the table ahead of their trip to second-from-bottom Epping.

The Old Boys enjoyed a seven-wicket win over a weakened Basildon & Pitsea XI last weekend and skipper Aaron Lucas has told his players not to take their foot off the gas.

Southendian will be at full strength for the trip to Epping and Lucas said: "I'm hoping for as similar sort of performance up there, although you do not always know what you are going to get.

"Sometimes it can be quite green but I'm quite sure we can adapt to that and I'm confident we can get more points on the board."

Basildon were missing eight players due to a stag do last Saturday but are back for today's trip to Old Brentwoods.

Captain Michael Gray is hoping to reverse a slide which has seen Basildon lose their last two matches following a brace of wins.

Having played some of the stronger teams in recent weeks, Gray thinks a run against mid and bottom-of-the-table sides offers Basildon the chance of a fillip.

"Stanford, Old Southendian and Harlow Town are the three strongest teams in this division and the rest of us can all beat each other," Gray said.

"We have Old Brentwoods this weekend and then Epping and Benfleet, so it's all games with teams around us.

"Hopefully with everyone back we will be stronger and get some wins to keep us in mid table."

Stanford le Hope are without a game this afternoon due to the withdrawal of Pegasus & Corringham from the league.

Captain Lee Knight said a few of the lower order batsmen would drop into the second XI to get some batting practice, while the rest of the first team would have a week off.

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