DIVISION TWO: Leigh-on-Sea are looking to cement their promotion push with a win over rivals Westcliff this weekend.
Leigh host Westcliff at Chalkwell Park, although both sides play their home matches at the ground, in a game that promises to be a keenly-fought encounter and offers Westcliff the chance to claim their first win of the season over their county neighbours.
Leigh skipper Dean Waller helped his side to an impressive victory over Hornchurch last weekend and put them back on track for a top-two finish, although Orsett and Belhus are currently above them but below runaway leaders Hornchurch.
Waller’s side had lost two on the spin having recorded four straight victories and he says a win this weekend would be more than just a derby victory.
“We definitely have to win this match,” said Waller. “If we have realistic ambitions we have to beat a team who hasn’t won a game all season, with no disrespect to Westcliff.
“If we were to lose then all our good work against Hornchurch will have been for nothing and our lads are determined not to let that happen.
“We are in confident mood and, despite missing some key players, are raring to go.”
Last week’s star performer Paddy Groves, as well as Rob Catchpole, Harry Slack and Billy King are all out, with Damian Liston and Hassan Mazhar amongst the players coming in.
Westcliff looked doomed to a quick return to division three after they fell to their tenth defeat in 12 games. They have shown recent signs of improve-ment and will be looking to get one over on their rivals as they build up a head of steam before the season ends.
Westcliff’s fate has somewhat seemingly been sealed by the upturn in form of Thurrock side Horndon-on-the-Hill.
Horndon looked as though they would be the other side facing relegation after they went their opening nine games without a win. But three wins on the spin has seen them score 60 points and to within ten points of third-bottom West Essex.
Horndon will bid to make it four in a row against second-placed Orsett tomorrow, and in turn do Leigh a favour as they aim to move to within touching distance of their Thurrock rivals. And Billericay could yet help Horndon out, for if they beat West Essex and Horndon were to win, the Thurrock side could just get out of the drop zone.
Stewart Rutland’s side have been frustrated by the weather, with a quarter their games aban-doned and limited over matches going against them but a win could see them jump from sixth to third, if results go their way.