Royston look to 'biggest game of season'

PUBLISHED: 19:14 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:50 11 May 2010

A THIRD win on the bounce saw Royston step up their push for promotion, as Richard Temple s side punished Ely with an emphatic 96-run win. The Crows have made steady progress in recent weeks, having beaten both Over and Cottenham to equal their season s

A THIRD win on the bounce saw Royston step up their push for promotion, as Richard Temple's side punished Ely with an emphatic 96-run win.

The Crows have made steady progress in recent weeks, having beaten both Over and Cottenham to equal their season's best, and face Cambs Senior League Division Two leaders Balsham on Saturday in confident mood.

Player coach Temple, has described the fixture as the "biggest game of our season" and believes Royston can upset the odds against one of the Cambs Senior League's few unbeaten teams.

He told The Crow: "It's going to be a tough game, as Balsham are a very good side.

"If we lose then I think our promotion bid is all but over, but if we can win then we'll have a very good chance. It also depends on how Wilbrahams and March do - it's very tight at the top.

"We're doing well at the moment, and on our day, we know that we can beat anyone in the league, and we'll be going all out to win this one."

Royston certainly showed their character on Saturday, in completing a league double over Ely, having bowled them all out for 21 at Therfield two months ago.

However, they did not get off to the best of starts, losing three wickets by the 12th over, as Matt Graham fell first to a contentious lbw, with Martin Leary and Chris Milton following soon after.

In fact, The Crows looked shaky at 32 for 3. However, Ken Graham and Paul Miller came in and swept the visitors to safety with the duo quickly building a 63-run partnership.

After Graham was caught for 41, Martyn Leek came in to support Miller, and their partnership was equally impressive, taking the Royston score close to the 200 mark.

Naveed Ahmad contributed a lusty 12, while Ashley Judge's brief cameo featured one thundering boundary, as Miller raced to his 50 in style.

Joe Carver added several deftly taken boundaries, before Miller launched a monster six as he went in search of his century.

However, that was not to be, as the talented batsman was run out for an excellent 69, which left Matt Gillham to scamper Royston to 200 for 8 off their 45 overs.

The Ely reply was a stuttering one, losing a wicket in the second over, when Naveed Ahmad (9.3-2-22-3) bowled Tickner for a duck.

Chris Hootton (9-1-20-3) then squared up Tillbrook, who chipped and was caught by Martin Leary for 9.

King was next to go, mistiming a drive from Matt Gillham (7-2-18-3) and caught expertly by Chris Milton for 14, with Finch (15) out next, thanks to an excellent delivery from Gillham.

Royston maintained their dynamism in the field and piled on the pressure, and Gillham capitalised, snaring his third victim by bowling Jackson, with Carver then seeing off Swann-Taylor (13), and Leek catching Vincett.

At 79 for 7, the hosts were in a whole lot of trouble, and three wickets apiece from Hootton, Ahmad, and Gillham, cleared Ely out for 104 after 40 overs.

The victory keeps Royston in pursuit of second placed Wilbrahams and third placed March Town, and with five games left, The Crows will have to be on the top of their game.

Temple said: "After winning only one or two games in each of the last three seasons, I think we'd have settled for where we are now at the start of the season.

"And if we hadn't started so slowly, then I think we would be even closer to the top teams.

"Our aim is to try to win our remaining games, and I can see no reason why we cannot do that.

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