04:00PM, Thursday 10 June 2021
Cookham Dean skipper Ben Millar
Cookham Dean and Stoke Green have both qualified for the national rounds of the Voneus Village Cup after winning their respective regional finals on Sunday.
Dean secured a four-wicket victory over Wraysbury in a match that was closer than the scorecard suggests to advance from the Berkshire regionals, while Green did likewise in the Buckinghamshire region, defeating Westbury in the final by four-wickets.
The draw for the first national rounds (round five) of the competition was made yesterday lunchtime (Wednesday), with Dean to host Calmore Sports from Hampshire at Whyteladyes Lane on Sunday, June 20, and Stoke Green facing a much longer trip to play Woolpit in Suffolk.
Dean skipper Ben Millar hailed his side's character and desire to fightback when the game appeared to be going against them for Sunday's victory.
Having won the toss, the hosts put Wraysbury into bat and initially made some inroads, taking two early wickets. A fine partnership of 61 between Dan Ward (40) and Jayesh Mohan (53), who both scored at more than a run a ball, threatened to take the away side towards a formidable total. However, an excellent spell of bowling by 17-year-old Will Dempster destroyed Wraysbury’s middle order. He took four wickets for just 11 runs in his allotted seven overs, including the vital wicket of Mohan, to wrestle back control for Cookham.
With good support from Shahzad Ashgar, who took 3-33, Wraysbury collapsed from being 104-3 to 144 all out in 32 overs.
The bowling attack was supported by some fine fielding by the home side, with Greg Davis taking two great catches and wicket-keeper Rob Mettler diving to take a sensational one-handed catch off Dempster.
Dean’s reply was soon in choppy water, with the hosts crumbling to 39-4 despite a solid 22 from captain Ben Millar. Dempster (20) and Davis (24) steadied the innings but at 104-6 Wraysbury were very much still in the contest.
Asghar then joined Sohil Mangat in the middle and the pair batted sensibly to settle any nerves. Having come through a pressured period, Dean relaxed in the final overs and won the game in spectacular style, smashing three boundaries in the final over to clinch a four-wicket win with just over three overs remaining. Waqas Khan and Andy Prasad were the pick of Wraysbury’s bowling attack, taking 1-17 and 1-18 respectively from their eight overs.
“Really, we got over the line relatively comfortably in the end,” said Millar, before the draw was made.
“I’ll be honest, they started both innings much better than us and after 15 overs, they went really hard.
“Fortunately, we took our catches and we held out well. We managed to put together a few partnerships when it was our turn to bat too.
“Will Dempster took 4 for 11 which was great when you think he’s only 17-years-old. The guys with the bat, Sohil and Shahzad, also had a very good weekend.
“You always need both [batting and bowling] to function if you’re going to win a game and in the end, we managed that.
“It was our ability to fight back in each innings which won us the game.”
“We’re not sure who we’ve got in the next round as they haven’t announced it yet, added Millar.
“We will probably hear back in the next day or two.
“Hopefully we will have enough to beat whoever we play against. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Billy Presbury, 21, of Moray Drive, and Kai Warwick, 19, of Whiteford Road, targeted a trio of teenage boys in Farnham Park on June 1, 2019.