Stoke Green gear up for another tilt at the Thames Valley Division 1 title

Stoke Green are all geared up for another tilt at the Thames Valley Cricket League Division 1 title, and are hoping this time it’ll actually result in promotion.

Green held off the challenge of Gerrards Cross last summer to be crowned champions, however, ground grading criteria inadequacies meant their elevation to the Home Counties Cricket League was denied.

They’ll be led this season by Gagan Singh, with Sukh Dhillon having stood down from the role, however Singh got plenty of practice in the role last season with Dhillon spending half of the campaign on the side lines with a back injury.

Last season truly was a momentous one for Stoke Green, one which Dhillon said at the time you could ‘write a book about’.

Not only were they crowned Division 1 champions, but they also lifted the Julian Cup and reached the semi-finals of the National Village Cup. Just eight seasons after being sat in the fifth tier of the Thames Valley League they were at the summit and. but for a better performance against Calmore Sports in the Village Cup, might have headed for Lord’s with the chance to put more silverware on the table.

It’s a difficult act to follow, and there will be frustration the club wasn’t able to take up its place in the Home Counties League, but Singh is focused on the here and now and the prospect of another successful summer.

“Sukh’s not retired, he’s going to play at times, but he doesn’t want any more responsibility,” said Singh. “He asked me to take over so that’s what I have done.

“I’m excited, absolutely. I did half the season last year as well when he (Dhillon) had a bad back. I had to step in and take over the team. We did really well last year, we won the league and we’re pumped for this season.

“Everything has been going pretty well in pre-season. We have played three friendly matches so far. The boys are gelling really well because we’ve still got most of the same team. Everyone is performing and giving their best and hopefully that carries on through the year.”

He added: “All the boys and teams probably know about me. I’ve been playing in this division for the last four or five years, I think. I’m confident with my skillset and I should be able to help my team cross that line again.

“Absolutely, promotion is the aim every year. We play to win and we always play hard.

“We have a mixture of young and old players. We have a few players that are in their mid-20s and early 20s too. Then we’ve got a few that are in their 40s. It’s a real good mixture like we seem to have every year.”

Green have also brought in the Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan Junior, a left-arm seamer as their overseas player for this season.

Singh added: “He’s an ex-Pakistani pro so we are confident he’ll have a good impact and a good season. We will train Tuesdays and Thursdays with him so he’s passing on his knowledge to everyone.”

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