'Gutted' - but Royston's Temple looks to a bright future
PROMOTION is all but off the cards for Royston despite pushing Cambs Senior League Division 2 league leaders Balsham to the last ball in another thrilling encounter at Therfield on Saturday. The Crows lost out in agonising circumstances and will no doubt
PROMOTION is all but off the cards for Royston despite pushing Cambs Senior League Division 2 league leaders Balsham to the last ball in another thrilling encounter at Therfield on Saturday.
The Crows lost out in agonising circumstances and will no doubt feel aggrieved not to have beaten the undefeated table-toppers having already gone close earlier on in the season.
However, after a brief flirtation with promotion, player coach Richard Temple has had to rule out his side's chances and said that preparations for next season begin now.
He said: "It was always going to be a long shot and with the other games being cancelled our rivals have kept the same points average when we really needed them to slip up.
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"I think promotion is still mathematically possible, but we would have to win our remaining games and hope the teams in second and third place (Wilbrahams and March Town respectively) lose all of theirs. It's virtually impossible.
"Saturday's defeat left us totally gutted as we played some excellent cricket - probably the best we have played all season. We've got better over the weeks and recently we've looked like a top two team.
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"We've definitely improved and have to now look to a strong start to next season and hopefully win promotion."
Put in to bat, Royston made a steady start with Matt and Ken Graham seeing out the first 10 overs in the midst of several rain delays. However, they then lost Matt Graham (13) following one miss-hit drive.
Martin Leary and Ken Graham forged a 67-run partnership, before Ken damaged a hamstring, and needed a runner. Two overs later the hindering injury proved to be Ken's downfall and he was bowled by Gard for 36.
Leary fell in the same over, with Gard getting the slightest of contacts, just tickling the bail from the stumps for 25.
Paul Miller came to the crease and hit several boundaries before he was bowled by Daniels.
Temple then entered a duel with Gard and Daniels as a barrage of bouncers rained down. Temple was hit several times, even spilling his helmet, but returned fire with some hard hitting strokes, battering his way to 22 before he was caught from Daniels' bowling.
John Bason stuck at the task of fending away body line bowling and kept the score ticking over, making 17 before he was run out, while Naveed Ahmad came to the crease and hit 19 from 10 balls.
The home side ended their innings on 175 for 6 - a very reasonable score considering the conditions.
Balsham's reply was mixed, and they were three wickets down by 15 overs. Temple (12-3-39-5) had several strong lbw shouts turned down, before he forced an edge from Barnes who was caught at slip by Ken Graham for 19.
Temple struck again with K. Saunders caught by Ahmad for 4, before the latter dismissed Stanley for 1. Royston applied more pressure, and as a result took a fourth wicket when Temple bowled Squire for 11.
Joe Carver continued his impressive first team performances with the ball, bowling an important seven over spell and dismissing Housdon for 2 courtesy of a fine running catch from Paul Miller.
With 10 overs to go, Balsham needed 57 and with Gard hitting cleanly and aggressively the visitors looked well set.
However, Royston responded with further wickets with S. Saunders run out by Ahmad and De'ath run out by Hootton.
Going into the final few overs Gard hit several crucial sixes to drag Balsham towards the total, but he was bowled for Temple's fifth.
Following Gard's excellent 94, he had put the visitors within nine runs of victory, and a six by the last man left them to scramble the winning run.
Temple said: "We could well have beaten Balsham twice this season. They're a good side but we really should have won.
"We're now looking at finishing as high in the league as possible and it would be good to get third place.
"However, with thoughts on next season it could be a good time to try things out and bring a few of the fringe players into the team.