07:00PM, Wednesday 08 September 2021
Slough produced a controlled, yet aggressive game of cricket to beat Amersham by eight-wickets on Saturday and wrap up the Division 2 title, as well as promotion back to the top level of Home Counties cricket.
The side could have wrapped up promotion the previous weekend, but surprisingly lost to relegation threatened Wargrave on home soil.
It meant there was a three-way fight for the title going into the final day, with Oxford Downs and Wokingham both able to overhaul Nadeem Syed’s side should results go their way.
However, Slough held their nerve and booked their ticket back into Division 1 with a convincing win, bowling out Amersham for just 175 and chasing it down for the loss of only two wickets in 23 overs.
Slough’s bowlers were miserly, with Ali Akbar Raja taking three wickets, and once again brother’s Dan and Josh Lincoln scored well with the bat, making 52 and 63 to add to the opening contributions of Syed Bukhari (29) and Sheridon Gumbs (21).
“As a team I was confident that if we played to our potential, we should at a minimum do enough to get promoted,” he said. “But equally, I was also confident that we would win the game because we had beaten Amersham before, and the boys were up for it.
“We bowled very well. It was a good batting track, which was demonstrated by us achieving 180-odd in 23 overs. We might have got them all out for 140/150 but for a couple of dropped catches, but I was pleased with how we controlled the game.
“Our openers Syed Bukhari and Sheridon Gumbs gave us a good start and then Dan and Josh finished it off.”
Slough have been the frontrunners for the title for several weeks, having played with a controlled aggression to go after teams with both the ball and the bat. Dan Lincoln has scored more than a thousand runs for them this summer, but Syed says everyone has contributed.
“The most important thing is to have more than one or two people contributing,” he added. “If you rely on one, two or three players you're not going to win titles. I know Dan (Lincoln) had an excellent season and scored more than a thousand runs, but our bowling was also fantastic, and we haven't let any team score more than the par score.
“We've restricted teams to less than 100 at times this year so we haven't had to chase big targets, but even so everyone contributed and chipped in.
“Playing as a unit was important, as was having a bigger squad than just 11/12 players. We had players from the second team we could call on and they slotted into their roles nicely, so we were able to adapt and overcome the availability issues teams have. We've played a very aggressive type of cricket and that's been reflected in our results. I don't think a lot of teams fancied playing us because we'd chase over 200-odd in 25/27 overs.
“We were playing aggressive cricket and going for the victories rather than playing for draws or points, and that mindset helped us a lot throughout the journey.”
Syed may look to strengthen, by bringing in a batting allrounder for next season, but he believes he already has the quality, and match-winners, to be a success in Division 1.
“We believe we are the biggest club and should be playing in Division 1,” added Syed. “That’s where we belong. There will be bigger teams and challenges, and we can’t afford to be complacent.
“I think there’s a lot of talent and match winners in this team and I’m backing them to do well, but I also understand there are strong teams in the division such as Henley, High Wycombe, Banbury and Datchet. If we continue to perform in the way we have been doing I see no reason why we can’t do well next year.”