DAN HOUSEGO has called on Wokingham’s batsmen to improve to get the club’s promotion bid back on track.
The Oaks sat third in the Home Counties Premier League 2 table less than a month ago, just eight points off the promotion spots.
But three successive draws have seen Wokingham drop down to seventh with the latest stalemate coming after they failed to chase down 292 to defeat Chesham at Sadlers End on Saturday, closing on 229-8.
And Housego, whose score of 42 was only topped at the weekend by opener Salman Khalid’s 44, says he is not satisfied with the recent run of results.
“We’re not really happy,” the Oaks’ player-coach told The Wokingham Paper.
“We’re unbeaten in six games and we’ve drawn the last three.
“The batters haven’t performed the way we want. There’s been a lot of starts and then getting out, myself included in that.
“Obviously chasing 290 is a lot, but it was a pretty good wicket. With the batting we’ve got, we should’ve got a hell of a lot closer.
“I think 270-280 was par. The outfield was lightning, it was hot, the wicket was flat and we didn’t go into it thinking, ‘oh God, we can’t win this game’.
“We thought we could win it but we had too many starts and not a big hundred to win us the game.”
He added: “We’ve got guys that have got first class hundreds, we’ve got a Middlesex second team player, we’ve got Stuart Parsons who has been the leading run scorer a couple of years ago so there’s no excuses really.
“We’re not overly happy, but it’s not the end of the world.”
After a flying start in the win/lose games, recent timed matches have caused problems for Stuart Hayter’s men.
The last three games have all followed a similar pattern of Wokingham set a big total to chase down but in the end been forced to hold on to take a draw.
And that comes as somewhat of a surprise given the Oaks’ dominance in those fixtures last season where they embarked on a lengthy winning run.
“It’s a shame because we’ve been so successful over the last couple of years, especially last year when I think we won six in a row chasing,” said Housego.
“It’s not ideal.
“It’s something that I would say is a strength of ours that we haven’t quite hit the heights that we did last year.
“I wouldn’t say that the level of competition is particularly higher, it’s pretty similar.
“It’s just guys haven’t gone on to get a hundred to win the game. There’s been a lot of 30s, 40s and getting out which you can’t win games with really.”
Despite the frustration of three straight draws, Wokingham have still only lost once all season from their 10 games so far following promotion from the Thames Valley League for the first time since 2010.
So while they have dropped a few places, Hayter’s charges are still only 22 points off the top two and would’ve been up in third had they not been deducted 20 points for fielding an ineligible player on the opening day.
The Oaks are also still in the sights of the bottom two, sitting 34 points clear of relegation trouble, but Housego insists the focus is solely on the top end of the table.
“We’re certainly in it to win it,” he said.
“I truly believe that we can do it.
“It’s just the batters taking a bit more responsibility for their shots and if we can do that, we’ll be right up there.
“We’ve only lost one and obviously had the deduction of points from the first game.
“But the points structure is, in my opinion, not great. Having lost one game yet we’re seventh is a bit of a shame.
“But there’s still a lot of cricket to be played.
“It’s getting to the business end of the year now so we’ll keep on going and hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts come the end.”
Saturday sees another good test of Wokingham’s credentials when they head to second-placed Datchet, a side with familiar faces for Housego.
“I know most of the Datchet team,” he said.
“Tom Lambert and I worked together at Berkshire and Chris Peploe is an old team-mate of mine at Middlesex.
“They’ve got a lot of young cricketers so it’ll be a good game.
“It’ll be on a tough wicket as well. Datchet is not the best cricket wicket in my opinion but it will be a good test, two evenly balanced sides and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”