SUKH DHILLON has labelled the five-wicket win at Henley 2s as a “great victory” as Stoke Green moved up to third place in Division One on Saturday.

Dhillon believes his team is weaker than it was last season, but four wins from their first seven matches this summer has put Stoke Green in a position to challenge the top sides.

Henley won the toss and elected to bat first but were bowled out for 188 after 46 overs. Cameron Jackson made a half-century (52) at number eight, while Charlie Hoomwood was unbeaten on 40 and Will Legg added 34.

Ali Nadeem Abbasi (4-61) and Saud Ahmed (3-27) led the visitors’ bowling attack, backed up by Zulfi Butt (3-56).

In response, Stoke closed on 191-5 after 41.1 overs for the win, thanks largely to a century from Abbasi. His ton came off 127 balls and included 15 boundaries plus three maximums. Opener Saqlain Basharat (30) and Kashif Abbasi (28*) both played supporting roles at the crease.

Prakash Gurung was the pick of the Henley bowlers with his figures of (2-30), while other wickets fell to Keegan Russell (1-19), Jackson (1-31) and Gurveer Singh (1-56).

Stoke captain Dhillon told the Observer: “It was a very hot day. We lost the toss and were asked to bowl on a really batting friendly wicket.

“We thought we were going to be in for a long day but our opening bowlers started fantastically to lift spirits. We got four or five wickets early on and beat the edge a few times which was a turn up for the books.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Ali Nadeem Abbasi took 4-61 with the ball and made 100 with the bat on Saturday.

“They got a partnership in the middle which we knew was coming because the pitch was so flat, but they didn’t get an unassailable total.

“Overall we bowled really well to keep the pressure up. Ali and Saud bowled particularly well early on.

“I was very impressed with the seam bowlers on a dead, flat wicket which is very pleasing because in recent years we’ve relied on our spinners.”

He continued: “We started off pretty poor with the bat. Dan Simpson (six) hit the first ball for six then got out, which he knows isn’t good enough.

“Then Ali came in and played a mature innings. His century settled everyone down and took the game away from Henley. Saqlain has been absolutely great this year in supporting every batsman.

“We lost a few wickets towards the end but that’s because we wanted to win quickly due to the heat. It was a pretty comfortable chase.”

Commenting on the season so far, Dhillon said: “A lot of players have stepped up in all our games and it’s good to have an all-round team effort.

“We’ve lost a lot of players this year so our aim still is to survive in this league because we're a lot weaker.

"Our league position after seven games is a good one and we would have bitten your hand off for it at the start of the season."

Check out our new Observer sports Facebook page. Search: Robert Observer Sport and like, follow and share today.