FINCHAMPSTEAD and Berkshire county star Dan Lincoln has joined the professional staff of Middlesex County Cricket Club, writes Dave Wright.

The 24-year-old batsman has just been given a one-year contract with the first-class county, having played for them in the Vitality Blast last year in addition to being a prolific run maker for their 2nd XI.

Throughout last season, he had his sights firmly fixed on becoming a professional cricketer – and now his dream has come true.

But Lincoln has taken an unusual route to the pro ranks according to Berkshire's performance manager Tom Lambert.

He explained: "He was a late developer, a player who didn’t take the natural route from Academy books through to a first-class contract.

"In his late teens and early twenties, his time at Reading FC took priority, and I am sure he will admit at that time his sights were set on a professional football contract.

"Even so, he kept playing cricket with Finchampstead and his performances brought him into the Berkshire squad the start of the 2017 season.

"He has remained there ever since, becoming a valuable member of a hugely successful county side."

Lincoln's commitments with Middlesex could restrict his appearances for both Berkshire and, in particular, Finchampstead.

Late last season, he handed over the Home Counties Premier League club's captaincy to James Woodford, and the young spinner will lead them out on a permanent basis this year.

Finch will be desperately keen that Lincoln plays for them as much as possible, as in 2019 he scored 643 runs at an average of 42.86.

And they could, among others, be losing Oli Soames, who totalled 363 runs in eight league games, as the Hampshire batsman is believed to be looking for a club in the Southampton area.

But Finch are expected to acquire the services of Stuart Parsons, who skippered neighbours Wokingham last season.

The Oaks are expected to name experienced player-coach Dan Housego as their new captain and they will be one of the favourites for the HCPL Division Two title next season.