CRICKET: Wokingham CC move into promotion spots while Finchampstead secure survival

James Bird hit three boundaries
James Bird scored an unbeaten 61 as Wokingham close in on back-to-back promotions

Wokingham are in pole position to clinch promotion from Home Counties Premier 2 at the first time of asking after a comfortable eight-wicket win over Great and Little Tew.

The Oaks, who only came up from the Thames Valley League this season, have moved up to second spot with only three games to play in what is set to be a thrilling finale.

Iain Muirden took two early wickets

Having won the toss, Wokingham opted to field first at Sadlers End and got off to a blistering start, reducing Tew to 1-2 with openers Iain Muirden and Lewis Sharp claiming a wicket apiece.

That score soon became 22-4 as Muirden and Sharp struck again before Simon Myles got Tom Bradbeer caught behind to leave the visitors stunned on 35-5.

But they showed some fight to cross the 100 mark with Joe White’s knock of 37 off 108 balls crucial as well as an unbeaten 70 from Curtly Slatter.

Tew batted out their 50 overs, closing on 174-8 with Jacob Clark joining Muirden and Sharp on two wickets.

But that chase looked more than achievable for Wokingham, who have lost just twice all season.

Stuart Parsons fell early for 13 while fellow opener Archie Carter reached 19 before being clean bowled to leave the hosts on 39-2.

But that proved to be the end of the wickets as Danny Housego (72no) and James Bird (61no) produced impressive knocks, hitting seven boundaries apiece to cruise across the line in the 44th over.

The 20 points leave Wokingham second in the table, 42 points behind runaway leaders Buckingham but level with third-placed Chesham and only 12 points separate Wokingham in second and Saturday’s opponents Harefield in sixth.

Craig Hodges took on the captaincy

Up in Premier 1, FINCHAMPSTEAD picked up victory at High Wycombe, despite missing influential captain Dan Lincoln.

Finches’ knew victory would likely seal survival in the top flight for another season but they were without Lincoln, who missed out for the first time this year to resume his football career as goalkeeper for Bognor Regis Town’s opening game of the campaign.

But two early wickets from stand-in skipper Craig Hodges put the away team on the front foot from the off.

Former Finchampstead man Dan Marles was next at the crease, but he was caught off the bowling of Josh Lincoln for 18 as wickets steadily tumbled to 83-5.

Hodges took his tally to three wickets while Darron Augustus led the charge with figures of 3-40 as High Wycombe closed on 203-9.

In reply, Finch got off to a fine start in Buckinghamshire.

Openers Adam Dewes and Greg Smith put on an opening stand of 61 before the latter fell for 20.

Ed Oliver soon followed for a duck but debutant Mac Keast added 20 before being run out.

Dewes eventually departed after making it to 58 and the game was in the balance at 121-5 when Simon Bell was trapped lbw for a watchful four.

But Andrew House shaped the remainder of the innings, powering to 61 off 60 balls while Lincoln added 22 and although there were a late flurry of wickets, Finches held on to win by one wicket with four balls to spare.

Finch sit seventh in the table, 71 points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a home clash with leaders Slough on Saturday.

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