Key games will test Stamford’s title credentials

Photo: SM130512-058ow'Stamford Cricket Club v Barnack.  Liam Dave batting for Stamford.
Photo: SM130512-058ow'Stamford Cricket Club v Barnack. Liam Dave batting for Stamford.
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Stamford Town’s next four games will reveal if they are genuine title contenders, 
according to skipper Andrew Hulme.

Opener Liam Davé smashed an unbeaten 155 as Stamford brushed aside Welby to move three points clear at the top 
of the South Lincolnshire 
and Border League last weekend.

But Town have played a game more than closest rivals Billingborough and Boston, and Hulme warned his side face four big matches coming up, beginning with a trip to Skegness tomorrow.

“I think we have what it takes but the next four games will be vital,” he said.

“We still have to play Boston and Billingborough in back-to-back games, Skegness look strong and Grantham have signed new players.

“In a month’s time we will know better.”

Certainly Welby were no match last wekeend, losing by 122 runs as Davé put in a virtuoso batting display.

He struck 23 fours and three sixes, only missing out on his own club record by just seven runs.

Hulme added: “Over the last 10 years Liam has been the best batsman at the club and has been threatening a big knock for a while.

“The runs were very good cricket strikes. His timing was excellent.”

Stamford ended on 278 for 6 with Davé given good early support from Bryan Bennett(42) and latterly Tom Gadsby(23).

Town then dismissed the visitors inside 35 overs with Brett Bennett leading the way with four for 28.

Veterans Steve Armstrong and Bill Hall completed Town’s best performance of the season, taking three for 29, and 2 for 43 respectively.

But Davé isn’t the only Stamford player who knows how to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Zac Chappel blasted 86 of Town’s 183-8 as Town beat Bourne by 60 runs in the Stamford Knockout Shield.

The 16-year-old, who came through Town’s juniors and is now a member of Leicestershire’s youth set-up, then took three wickets as the 2012 champions fell for 134-7.

Stamford skipper Hulme said: “He’s supposed to be a bowler but I feel a bit inferior when I bat with him. Some of the shots he plays look impossible.”

Stamford 2nd XI fared less well at Thomas Cook, losing by 56 runs after conceding 179 for 9 in the South Lincs League on Saturday.

Tom Dytham (2 for 26), Chris Birch (2 for 34) and Richard Dytham (2 for 37) were the main wicket takers, but then, alarmingly, Stamford collapsed to 43 for 6 in reply, with only Joe Morley reaching double figures.

There was a brief hope of victory as Steve Holland(45) and skipper Birch(33) shared a stand of 78, but this was soon extinguished, as they both fell in quick succession, Town subsiding to just 123 all out.