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Treble-winners Hornchurch snap up former Essex ace Westfield for defence of titles

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 April 2019

Essex batsman Mervyn Westfield hits out at Chelmsford (pic: Sean Dempsey/PA Images).

Essex batsman Mervyn Westfield hits out at Chelmsford (pic: Sean Dempsey/PA Images).

PA Archive/PA Images

Billy Gordon praised Mervyn Westfield and backed the 30-year-old to have a big impact on the young players at Harrow Lodge Park

Hornchurch have flexed their muscles ahead of the new season with the signing of former Essex youngster Mervyn Westfield.

The all-rounder has joined Billy Gordon’s men at Harrow Lodge Park after success with Frinton-on-Sea over the last few years in the East Anglian Premier League.

Westfield started his career at Essex and made seven first-class appearances for the county before he was let go in 2010 and he was then embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal regarding a NatWest Pro40 match for Essex in 2009.

He was eventually charged with conspiracy to defraud over claims he deliberately bowled wides and spent eight weeks in prison.

Since then, however, Westfield has been a leading light in efforts to highlight corruption in cricket and the Hornchurch captain is thrilled to have someone with his experience at the club.

“I haven’t spoke to him much about that, but he was obviously young and made a silly mistake,” Gordon said.

“Now you can see he has really learnt from it and matured with regard to cricket and he gives it 110 per cent in training, so he will be a great asset and for all of the youngsters we have too.

“It will be brilliant to have him around the club, not just for the first-team on a game day, but for everyone here.”

There was a reason Westfield progressed through the academy set-up at Essex – he was a bowler with great pace and big potential as a youngster.

While he couldn’t demonstrate his true quality in the County Championship, since his prison release he has shone at Frinton.

Westfield has become a proper all-rounder and scored 556 runs at an average of 32 last season while also taking 43 wickets.

With increased excitement at the club regarding the signing, Gordon said: “Merv has been with us at training and looks very good.

“He is looking forward to the challenge and will be a brilliant signing. People know what he is about, he has been at the top level and hopefully he can bring a lot to our side.”

Gordon continued: “I spoke to him last year and he was thinking about joining then, but Frinton had been good to him so he wanted to give them another year.

“He did say he would see what happens for this season and he has decided to join Hornchurch, so it is brilliant for us.”

After losing experienced players Roy Smith and Chris Sains to Shenfield during the winter, Westfield will hopefully fill the void.

Since his involvement in the spot-fixing scam, the Londoner has worked with the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) to warn youngsters about the danger of corruption and will aim to again make headlines with wickets and runs this season.

“The league Frinton are in is meant to be pretty strong, so he should hopefully be a really good asset for us,” Gordon added.

“He seems to be really looking forward to it, he looks in good shape in training and hopefully he can be an excellent signing.”

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