DIVISION three: JAMES Wilkins admits his Benfleet team have got their tails up ahead of their derby clash with Basildon & Pitsea at Mopsies Park.

Last time the two sides met at the beginning of June, Benfleet were struggling at the foot of the table and their visitors were mid-table following a 67-run win.

Fast-forward seven weeks and Benfleet have climbed up to fifth place in division three and Basildon have slumped to ninth place.

“It makes a big difference for any team when they are winning,” said Wilkins. “We have got our tails up and are looking to build on our win over Epping.

“I did not think we were a second-from-bottom team and we know a win goes a long way in this league, so now we want to get another result, although we know Basildon will be looking to bounce back.”

Benfleet could welcome former captain Andy Prophet back into the first team following his stint skippering the second XI.

But bowler Charlie Huntley is out for up to a fortnight with tendonitis.

Gareth Steed took 5-23 for Benfleet as they beat basement club Epping by six-wickets, with Ian Stanley clubbing and unbeaten 67 on his return to the club following a five-year absence.

Basildon will be aiming to get back on track following a 242-run defeat to division three leaders Harlow Town.

Old Southendian & Southchurch are second and will be looking to strengthen their hand with victory at home to Oakfield Parkonians. Aaron Lucas’ team beat Woodford Green by eight wickets last weekend.

Stanford le Hope head into two matches which could shape the third-placed team’s season.

They face the top two teams in the next fortnight and there are currently only three points between the promotion rivals.

“We have Harlow Town next week and Old Southendian the week after,” said Lee Knight, whose team beat Parkonians by four wickets last Saturday. “They are both home games and we have been playing well there.

“These two matches could have a big say on how the season will finish.

“We are at full strength for the game and my message to the team will be to carry on doing what we’ve been doing.”