‘Woeful’ batting must improve says skipper

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HALSTEAD captain Tom Philp has said their “woeful” batting must improve if the north Essex side are to retain their East Anglian Premier League status.

The Star Stile outfit only managed an embarrassing total of 44 all out in reply to Norfolk side Horsford’s 250, meaning another heavy defeat following the 175-run loss against Saffron Walden the previous week.

And with the bowling prowess of overseas Bangladesh capped Sydel Rasel (52 One Day Internationals) still a couple of weeks away from being able to tie up his visa to take to the field, Philp admits it may be a case of having to “hang on in there”.

Vauxhall Mallards, the side who lay claim to more Premier League titles than any other, visit Star Stile on Saturday (11am) with Halstead hoping to weather the storm and pull a shock result out of the bag, after the opening few weeks have seen them drop to two off the bottom.

Philp said of Saturday’s 206-run defeat: “It was pretty humiliating.

“We actually bowled and fielded quite well, although they got 250 they were only scoring 2.5 an over but they got away in the last 10 to 15 overs.

“We have no confidence at all with the bat at the minute. It was a pretty woeful batting display - maybe decisions are not going our way, but I do not want to blame that.”

One bright spot from the defeat, which saw Chris Rayner’s 12 as the highest individual total for the visitors, was 16-year-old debutant bowler Ed Clark, who took the wicket of opener Nathan Perry Warnes for 32 runs.

With Mallards already establishing themselves at the top of the early table, Philp knows they will be up against it at the weekend, with the visitors set to field a mixture of experienced Premier League campaigners and overseas players.

“We played alright against them last year and we know what to expect,” he said. “Hopefully we can raise our performance quite considerably.”

Opening batsman Freddie Blackwell’s availability for Saturday will give Halstead a welcome boost, while Mark Johnson is still a doubt with an ongoing knee problem.