CRICKET ROUND-UP: Finchampstead CC close on title as Wokingham CC hopes washed away

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WP Cricket Finchampstead v Harefield
Finchampstead are one win away from the title (Pic Steve Smyth)

FINCHAMPSTEAD CC are just six points away from their first top flight Home Counties Premier League title since 2001 after easing past Reading.

Coming into the game 25 points clear with three to play, Finches knew victory against struggling Reading would put them on the brink of sealing the league crown.

With heavy rain forecast for later in the day, Reading won the toss and put Finch in to bat first, a task the leaders set about with purpose.

Despite losing last week’s hero Andy Rishton (11) early, the visitors dug in and proved difficult to shift from there on in.

Fellow opener Billy Rogers produced a patient 33 as number three Adam Dewes took it upon himself to power the score along.

Dewes ended the innings unbeaten on 102, which included nine fours off his 126 balls.

But that boundary figure was eclipsed by Jandre Coetzee, coming in at six to make 63 not out off just 41 balls with 10 fours to help his side close on 280-4.

And that total never looked like being caught as Finches tore into the Reading order as the rain stayed away.

South African Coetzee (5-33) was the main protagonist, removing all four of the hosts’ top batsmen to leave them reeling on 29-4.

The ship was steadied thanks to a 61 from Jack Beaven but wickets from JJ Dewes (3-44) and Max Uttley (2-22) eventually saw Reading bowled out for 172 as no less than nine Finches were handed at least an over with the ball.

With second placed Banbury losing, Henley are the only side who could catch Finchampstead, but Dan Marles’ charges now sit 35 points clear ahead of Saturday’s home game against Slough.

Wokingham CC

There will be no such end of season joy for Wokingham, as their slim promotion hopes were dashed by the weather.

Already in an unlikely chase for top spot in Thames Valley Division 1, Stuart Hayter’s men were forced to share seven points apiece as their game with Falkland was abandoned.

Batting first the Oaks finished their innings with 237-2 as Dan Housego powered to an unbeaten century, making 118 while fellow coach Michael Bates was next top scorer with 60.

A target of 251 was set to win thanks to the Duckworth/Lewis method after rain reduced Wokingham’s innings to just 33 overs.

However, just four overs into the chase and with Falkland sitting on 34-1 after Jack Wood had taken a wicket, the heavens opened again and play never resumed.

The Oaks sit third in table with two games to play, now 48 points off the top with Boyne Hill to come at home on Saturday.

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