12:00PM, Friday 03 September 2021
Stoke Green's captain Sukh Dhillon says you could write a book about the club's incredible transformation in recent seasons, after they wrapped up the Thames Valley League Division 1 title in fine style on Saturday.
Green eased to a five-wicket victory over closest rivals Gerrards Cross, cementing their place at the top of the table with one game to go.
The victory put the icing on a summer season that's also seen them reach the semi-finals of the National Village Cup and lift the Julian Cup T20 trophy.
Their president hailed it as the greatest season in the club's 200-year history and Dhillon called the players' achievements 'remarkable'.
Just eight seasons ago they were sat in the fifth tier of the Thames Valley League but next summer they’ll be playing Home Counties League cricket, subject to meeting ground grading criteria.
It’s a season that could easily have gone awry after their loss to Calmore Sports in the Village Cup, but Green managed to hold their focus and get back to winning ways.
“Losing that semi-final, the heads could have really gone,” said Dhillon. “Especially after such a successful season and not losing many games. It can only take one defeat to throw you off course, but we kept the confidence we had and bounced back.
“We had a good win against Cookham Dean the previous week and then chased down Gerrards Cross when the pressure was on. How professionally and easily we did it was just tremendous and shows the confidence running through the veins of the players.”
On Saturday the visitors made 197 after opting to bat, with Snashall scoring 70, however, Green chased it down in just 40.1 overs with Munir helping himself to 80 runs.
Saturday's game at Ickenham will now be a coronation for Green, as even if they lose without collecting a point, they'd take the title on countback even if Cross claimed victory.
“Everyone has stepped up and contributed when it mattered,” Dhillon added. “We're not reliant on a couple of players and it was a very comfortable with 10 overs and five wickets in hand.
“We’re now hoping to (be promoted), subject to meeting the ground criteria.
“It would be unreal for Stoke Green to be in that elite league, given where we were eight years, in Division 5 of the Thames Valley. To even think about doing this is unreal.
“It’s the greatest season Stoke Green has ever had in its 200-year history, and it’s probably the greatest season most clubs could have in Division 1. It’s been truly remarkable.
“It’s something we really need to enjoy, whatever the Home Counties decide.
“To win the league is a huge effort and it’s a tremendous effort from everyone at the club.
“We’ve been waiting on the inspection for quite a while. I’m hoping they work with us and support us in going to the next level. Clubs that have had a remarkable journey like ours should be encouraged. You could almost write a book about this.
“I’d hope they would support us and help us make that transition into the Home Counties League.”
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