JASON Ox says taking form into Saturday’s final match of the season against already relegated Brookweald could be crucial for Rayleigh.

Rayleigh got the better of Rettendon on Saturday to leapfrog them in the T-Rippon Mid-Essex League Premier Division standings and move up to third from bottom.

Victory against the bottom club will now keep Rayleigh in the top division.

And Ox says he is taking nothing for granted.

“I was really pleased with Saturday’s result as we knew it was sink or swim,” said Ox. “If they had won they would have taken a lead into the last game so to get this win was important.

“We are playing Brookweald, who couldn’t raise a team last weekend but are set to play this weekend. We need to win the game and we have a very strong team out.”

Put into bat, Rettendon started well and were 84/0 before Ian Bryant and Chris Frost bowled 20 overs and took 4-25.

The innings closed on 161/8 in 45 overs. Rayleigh started slowly but good running between the wickets saw the in-form Ox (65 not out), Luke Sullivan (29) and Ian Turnbull (27) help Rayleigh home in the 34th over for the loss of four wickets.

And Ox said he was pleased with his team’s effort after a rocky start.

“I had a bowling heavy side so I mixed up the batting order and Ian (Turnbull) opened well before I steadied the ship,” said Ox, who has hit a century and also knocks of 71 and 80 in recent times.

“I am getting runs and am pleased with my own form but we still have work to do.”

The same applies to the third team who must beat Tillingham 2s in their final game to avoid relegation from Division Five.

Scores from Martin Sanderson (44), Kalpesh Patel (40) and Steve Adams (24) and an excellent unbeaten eighth wicket partnership between Daryl Ox (23 not out) and James Wratten saw Rayleigh home in the 40th over against top side Rainham.

In Division One, the 2s scored just 58 in response to Great Baddow’s 245/6. Only Adam Krise (32) made any impression on the scoreboard.

The 4s were handed a second default win in as many weeks after opponents Old Southendians’ withdrawal from Division Seven, while the 5s have finished bottom of Division Eight after a five wicket loss against Chignal. They will play in Division Nine next year.

In Division 10, the 6s were handed a walkover win and were edged out by only 10 runs in a friendly against Tillingham 3s.