DIRECTOR of cricket Phil Toogood says if Halstead Cricket Club’s players believe in themselves, then they will quickly get back to where they know they should be in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship table.

It was a tough opening part to the season for Halstead as the Star Stile side reached the halfway stage sat in the relegation places and Toogood said their players needed to make sure they wore the club’s badge “with honour” to get themselves out of their predicament.

They did that last weekend as they ended a run of five defeats with a much-needed seven-wicket win against Woolpit that kick-started the second half of the campaign by lifting Halstead out of the bottom two in the division one table ahead of a trip to Wivenhoe on Saturday.

Toogood knows there is too much talent in the Halstead team for them to be where they have been in the standings, but said their players needed to hit their peak levels in all aspects of the game every week to make sure they were back to where they deserved to be.

He said: “We are setting goals for a process to get us to where we want to go, but we have to make sure we are doing it in every single game.

“We have to be plotting a way to victory in every game.

“I’m looking at our strike bowlers, at the players who can get the runs and for every fielder to perform at their limit - in all three disciplines we have to be better.

“We just have to take it one game at a time and we’ll play our way to victory if we stick to the three values of trust, honesty and total commitment.

“When you compare us to others in this league, we should not be where we are.

“We are a team who beat (league leaders) Witham a few weeks ago.

“It was an exciting match and if we can beat a side of that quality then we can beat anyone.

“We have evaluated where we are and asked players to contribute on who we are, where we are and what we could do to get out of it. That process has already been actioned and now we are looking forward to the cricket.

“It’s not the first time that we have been in this position and it won’t be the last, but that’s the same for every club.

“We have been here before, we have won championships before and it will happen again, but a team in the position we are in has to find togetherness and form at the right time.

“Self-belief is the key as these players we have here are good young players.

“People talk about losing being a habit, but we have to have the expectation that we will give everything and if we do that and key players find form then I know we can really surprise a lot of teams in the second half of the season.

“In all my years with Halstead, I have never liked to hear of us being referred to as a soft touch.

“I’d think that if anyone thought that then I’d be inspired to rock up and do the business.

“If anyone thinks of us as that now, then I’d let the squad know that and want them to do the business.”

Toogood admitted that having used more than 20 players in the first half of the season had not helped establish a settled side or the team’s fortunes.

The director of cricket hopes to see better availability in the second half of the campaign, however, he did add that there had been positives to emerge from a far from ideal situation.

“We have had injuries, that’s true,” he said.

“Ed Clark comes to mind as he turned his ankle bowling the first over of the first game and he’s only just starting to come back, but we have also had some pretty poor availability this year.

“More so than the last three or four years and that has not helped.

“We’ve had to use more than 20 players this season because of that, but there have been some positives to come out of it as we have seen some youngsters coming out of the colts and performing at this level.

“Lewis Brennan has been a shining light of the season so far.

“He has been a revelation and it’s been good to see a young guy coming in and stepping up.

“He’s been so consistent and showed great qualities as a young man coming in. Things like that really excite me and Liam Jones is another who has done well.

“He is a leg spin bowler and has performed at division one level and, like Lewis, is a great fielder as well. So there are some good things to have come out of a difficult spell.

“Gary Dicker is another bonus, as he has stepped up from the twos as wicket-keeper and has performed really well also.”