Essex Premier Division: ‘No fear’ for South Woodford at home to title-chasers Wanstead

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 July 2016

South Woodford captain Joe Craddock (pic: Graham Hodges)

South Woodford captain Joe Craddock (pic: Graham Hodges)


Skipper Joe Craddock says team can play with freedom in derby clash

South Woodford’s Joe Craddock says the pressure is all on title-chasing Wanstead ahead of Saturday’s derby in the Essex Premier Division at Highfield Road.

Both clubs are in need of the victory, but for different reasons at either end of the table.

While the Herons are hoping to cap their 150th anniversary year in fine style with the league title, and a possible double, the Highfield Road club are looking to preserve their Premier Division status.

A 17-run success at Ilford last weekend provided South Woodford’s survival battle with fresh impetus as they closed to 15 points of Buckhurst Hill in eighth, who represent safety.

Skipper Craddock is fully aware that it will be tough for the club to make up further ground this weekend against Wanstead, but hopes the pressure of chasing the title weighs heavy on the visitors.

“It’s a free hit for us on the weekend because not many people will be expecting us to win, so the pressure is off of us,” said Craddock.

“The aim is to start well again and if we do that by getting some quick runs on the board or by getting a few early wickets, who knows what might happen.

“We’re back in touch now at the bottom and with the results last week, we have drawn the likes of Ilford and Shenfield back into the relegation battle.

“But it’s games like this weekend, against teams like Wanstead and Brentwood, where you can enjoy yourself because the pressure in all on the opposition.

“Wanstead are expected to win, but we’ve shown that we can be a very tough side to beat at home.”

South Woodford were aided by a superb 84 off 83 by James Swash against Ilford, and Craddock is keen for more heroics this weekend.

“If you’re going to do well, you always need someone in your top five to score big against the big teams. The 20s and 30s are useful, but you always need a 70, 80 or even 100 as it helps take the pressure off.”

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