03:59PM, Wednesday 15 June 2022
Two wins in the space of seven days has changed the whole mood around Boyne Hill with captain Ziya Mohamed now believing they could drag themselves back into the Thames Valley League Division 1 title picture.
It would seem unlikely, after starting the season with four defeats on the spin, but Hill were able to build on last week's comprehensive victory over Stoke Green with a five-wicket win over Cookham Dean on Saturday.
There was an element of revenge to this victory, with Hill's overseas player Samad Fallah taking 5-44 against his former club to restrict the hosts to just 113 on a flat track.
Having won the toss Dean opted to bat given the conditions, but Hill's bowling attack were quickly breathing down their neck and, apart from Ben Millar (25) and Shahzad Asghar (50) they struggled to score freely.
In reply, Hill overcame a couple of early setbacks, with openers Imran Butt and Humza Ishaq departing for 10 and eight respectively, but one decent stand was all that was needed to guide the visitors to victory and that was supplied by Usman Ilyas (45) and Sajid Ali (28). Hamid Riaz (11no) and Mohamed (1no) then saw Hill to their target in the 36th over.
Reflecting on a second straight league win and another solid team display, Mohamed said: “It was another very strong performance.
“We're starting to look like a real team now. Our overseas (Fallah) played for Cookham Dean last year and he took five wickets, so it was sweet revenge for him I'd say. It was a flat track, but we bowled well to restrict them to 113.
“It became a tough wicket after the first innings and we lost a few wickets, but we managed to overcome that scare.
“We had one crucial partnership with Usman Ilyas and Sajid Ali and Hamid (Riaz) also batted well too.”
Despite the side's poor start to the campaign, which saw them down at the bottom of the table alongside struggling Burnham, Mohamed doesn't think it's out of the question for his side to chase down the likes of Stoke Green and Ickenham at the top.
They've been targeting the league title - and promotion for several years now and Mohamed believes they've got a strong enough squad to do just that.
“At the start we had four losses, so teams might have not thought we were that strong,” he said. “But two wins in two weeks has put us back in the title fight, I think.
“We had a few new players at the start, and we didn't know how we'd get on, but now everyone knows each other's strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is on it and playing well. We only have one thought in mind and that is to win the league. We've been trying for the last few years and hopefully this is the year for us.”
Boyne Hill - now up to fifth on 88 points - host Burnham on Saturday.
They then take on Marlow in the Julian Cup T20 competition on Tuesday evening where victory would see them progress to the semi-final knock out matches.
“I believe we have the stronger side so hopefully we can pick up more points against Burnham,” he added
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.