Stoke Green fall to first defeat but are fighting on three fronts

Kabir Parmar

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Stoke Green captain Sukh Dhillon accepts his side didn't bowl well in Saturday's 31-run defeat to Falkland, but he's happy enough with the start the side have made in TVL Division 1, and they're also competing well on two other fronts, the Voneus Village Cup and Julian Cup.

A couple of key bowlers were held up by an accident on the M25 on Saturday, which may go some way to explaining the side's disappointing bowling display which allowed Falkland to post what proved an unattainable target of 259-8 off 50 overs.

Openers James Bird and James Ettridge were able to cut loose, scoring 75 and 63 respectively to put the visitors in control and, while Green did well to keep them under 300 runs, it was still a mighty task for them to chase it.

In decent conditions and on a drying wicket they batted well after a rocky start saw their first three batsmen fall without reaching double figures.

But Kabir Parmar (68) and Pavinder Bhachu (55) steadied the ship, and Dhillon felt the hosts were in the driving seat at one stage before they 'threw the opportunity away'.

“It's been one of our best starts to the season since being in Division 1,” said Dhillon. “We're happy with the start we've made. This weekend was a little bit difficult, and it was definitely a winnable game for us.

“If we'd done so it would have put us clear with Ickenham at the top so it's put a bit of a downer on our start.

“We were unfortunate that two of our main bowlers got stuck on the M25 and they didn't turn up until an hour after the start and they could bowl until two hours in. We didn't bowl very well and maybe we were distracted by that. We allowed them to get off to a big start, and they should have got closer to 300 plus to be honest. We actually did well to restrict them.

“Our top order didn't do that great, but Parmar batted really well and showed great maturity. He's now showing what he's capable of and is in good form. Long may it continue.

Green will look to bounce back away to Cove on Saturday. Their opponents haven't had the best of starts, winning just one of their four matches so far but, like others, they've been disrupted by the weather. The following day Green will host Westbury for a place in the national rounds of the Village Cup. Dhillon's men have played them twice at this stage before and have won both matches.

“We've got a little bit of history with Westbury,” he said. “We've won both of our last two against them so hopefully that will play on their minds a bit and we can win another one and get to the national rounds. Then you start knocking off the games to try and get to Lord's.”

The Julian Cup T20 competition has also got underway in recent weeks, with Green having won one and lost one of their round robin-matches so far. They need to finish in the top four to reach the semi-finals. On Tuesday they thrashed Boyne Hill in a one-sided game, but Dhillon says that with the new format, that's to be expected.

Having posted 172-9 from their overs, they restricted an under-strength Hill to 82-9.

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