SUKH DHILLON has played down the suggestion that Stoke Green are title contenders this season despite their four-match winning streak.

In their most recent victory on Saturday, Stoke beat rivals Cookham Dean by five wickets at Ricketts Field to remain second in Thames Valley Division One.

Dhillon admits he did not expect his side to be in the position they are at the half-way stage, but insists their focus is still to avoid relegation.

The skipper told the Observer: “It has been a very good run but I keep saying it, we’re not as strong on paper as last year.

“We are playing more as a team and our team spirit is making us perform better, we want to play for each other.

“It has been a very good run and, if you had offered me second place at this stage, I would have been happy to take it. I certainly wasn’t expecting it but it’s a good position to push on from.

“It’s too early to say that we will be title contenders but we just want to take each game as it comes and enjoy it.

“We’re still talking about ourselves in relation to the bottom two because we want to stay in this league and until that is mathematically secure nothing will change.”

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Captain Ben Millar top-scored for Cookham Dean with 62 runs.

Cookham won the toss and chose to bat first but failed to capitalise and were bowled out for 183 after 41.1 overs. Captain Ben Millar top-scored at the top of the order with 62, while Simret Mangat added 33 and Yasir Qureshi 30.

Ali Nadeem Abbasi led the Stoke bowling attack with his five-wicket haul (5-55), supported by Zulfi Butt (3-58) and Irham Mughal (2-26).

In response, the visitors reached 186-5 in 42.2 overs for the win with opener Dan Simpson (56) and number three Karanpreet Singh (54) both making half-centuries. Qureshi claimed 3-22 for the losing team.

Dhillon commented: "Cookham are a decent side and we lost the toss. We thought that would be crucial because the pitch would turn more in the second innings and both teams had spinners.

"The gameplan was to keep them down to a low total but Cookham were 100-2 and it looked like we would be chasing 250 plus. But, they played rash shots and we took our chances.

"We were very happy with 185 and would have taken that at the toss.

"We bowled really well and Ali Nadeem has been really good for us this season. He cleaned the tail up pretty quickly.

"The fielding was good, the best I've seen this year, and our ground fielding was very good knowing we wanted to restrict them to a low score."

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Ali Nadeem Abbasi (batting) claimed a five-wicket haul for Stoke Green on Saturday.

He added: "Dan and Karanpreet batted really well, they had a 100-run partnership which set the tone for us. We were 130-1 so we had a really good foundation to go and win the game.

"They both batted brilliantly and snuffed out any chance of them rolling us over.

"It's good to see those two step up, they've needed to this season, and done so when it mattered.

"We lost a few wickets towards the end but that was because we were trying to win the game quickly and lost concentration."

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