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Howzat! Woodford Wells cricket club want good form all year long in Essex Division One

PUBLISHED: 16:00 01 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 03 May 2016

Woodford Wells skipper Joe Johnson takes up his position behind the wicket (pic: Deepak Sinha)

Woodford Wells skipper Joe Johnson takes up his position behind the wicket (pic: Deepak Sinha)

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Skipper Joe Johnson hopes there is no repeat of last year’s late slump

Woodford Wells are keen to repeat their strong form at the start of last season when the new campaign gets underway, hoping to banish memories of a late season slump that so nearly ended in relegation.

By the time the season reached the halfway point in July, Wells were looking comfortable in fourth and had an outside chance of putting together a good run to finish in the promotion places.

But their form from then on was nothing short of disastrous as they slid down the table and were only saved from relegation on the final day of the season, with local rivals Hainault & Clayhall relegated instead.

Wicket-keeper Joe Johnson returns to captain the side for a second season and he feels that a consistent XI could be the key to forgetting about their second-half woes this time around.

“You look at the likes of Shenfield and Southend last season (second and third) and they showed what you can do when you name pretty much the same XI on a regular basis,” said Johnson.

“We need to start well and hope we can maintain our form over the rest of the season rather than tail off towards the end like we did last year.”

Something that did not help the Wells’ cause towards the end was an injury crisis which robbed Johnson of several star bowlers, like Gareth James who missed the crucial final run of matches.

And the wicket-keeper is hoping for a bit more luck on that front this season, knowing it will only help Wells achieve success if they have a fully-fit squad to choose from.

He added: “To have a lot of your first-choice bowling attack out at such an important part of the season last year was tough.

“I’m wishing we don’t go through a similar run this time. The aim is to be up there and maybe one way to do that is to be a bit luckier with injuries.”

There have also been a lot of incomings and outgoings at the club over the close season, with former Essex staffer Maurice Chambers and overseas player Brenton Thompson among those to depart.

In their place have come the likes of Michael Arblaster and Tanveer Shah, players who Johnson believes can take Wells to the next level.

“The players that we’ve added to the squad, we believe they can be consistent throughout the season when in the past we’ve signed players that might only turn in great displays on certain occasions,” he added.

“It is a blow to lose someone like Maurice and he was good if he was on his day, but he did not feature often for us, hopefully our new signings will.”

Time will tell whether the new boys have the desired impact, but Johnson will just be hoping that they can go the distance.

• Read more in our Howzat! pullout here.


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