Datchet showing the form and consistency to challenge for Home Counties title

Steven Naylor

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Datchet are showing the kind of form and consistency which could see them challenge for the Home Counties Premier Division 1 title this season.

On Saturday they chalked up their fifth win of the campaign with an eight-wicket destruction of Aston Rowant to move top of the table by four points.

Rowant had been top heading into the fixture, but they were blown away by a fine all-round display from Joe Barrett's men in challenging, overcast conditions.

Their seamers and spinners got the party started with key faces from the Rowant top order sent back to the club house having contributed relatively little to the total. After Sean Solia had removed Oliver Ebsworth-Burland for 24 and Thomas Condon was caught by Billy Mead off the bowling of Oliver Smithson for 30, Steven Naylor stepped up to sink his teeth into their middle order. The dangerous Hayden Rossouw went for 13, Joshua Smith for three, Christopher Watling for 6 and Benjamin Le Bas for 10, all to Naylor, who finished with figures of 4-72.

Some of Rowant's batsmen were able to hang around, most notably Callum Russell who made 68 and Maximillian Mannering who fired off 61, but Datchet were confident they could chase 242, even with the uncertain weather conditions.

They managed it in fine style, with the magnificent opening pair of Barrett (137no) and Calvin Dickinson (92) sharing a first wicket stand of 206 to take them to the brink of victory.

Dickinson departed just eight shy of his century, and Mead chased a few shots and went for a duck, but Solia managed five from six deliveries to get the hosts over the line in the 36th over. A rain interruption had made life slightly more edgy for them, with the overs allowed being revised down to just 39.

Reflecting on the win in the absence of captain Barrett, was Bobby Sher. He says the players' hard work both on and off the field is paying dividends and added that the team's growing camaraderie will help Datchet to greater achievements this summer.

“We had quite a weak batting performance by our standards against Finchampstead (which they lost by 101 runs) and so there's only one way to bounce back and we did,” he said.

“The guys have been working hard during the week and are consistently turning up to training.

“The guys are really enjoying each other's company and the camaraderie is good, with players having little competitions with each other. Everyone is wishing everyone else to do well and that's showing in the results.

“We also have great depth in the side now, with our overseas coming in as well and the signing of Sam Harris during the season. There are a lot of things to look forward to really.”

Datchet's next game, away to bottom of the table Buckingham Town - a team who've lost all seven of their matches so far mustering just 37 points in the process - is a bit of a banana skin for the new league leaders, but Sher said they'd approach the game in a professional manner.

“You know as well as me there's never a guarantee in cricket,” he said.

“We'll just be going out as normal, trying to work as hard as we have been for the past seven games.

“We won't be looking at their position in the table and we know they've got some good players. We would never underestimate anyone and will work just as hard against them as anyone.”

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