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Cross surrender Home Counties lead
GERRARDS Cross CC captain Steve Rimmer has challenged his team to win their last three games of the season after throwing away their Division Two West lead with defeats over successive Saturdays.
Cross had breathing space at the top of the table at the start of August, but Aston Rowant and Oxford have both got the better of them in the last fortnight.
Rimmer’s team now trail Oxford by 15 points, but he believes a strong finish could still turn it around.
He said: “These were always going to be difficult games, but we’ve fallen slightly below par and not performed as we have done all season, which is disappointing.
“But we’ve got to target the next three games. We’ve got to get our form back to where it was and play positive, attacking cricket.
“If we win them all that would throw down the gauntlet.
“The players are more than good enough.”
Saturday’s defeat was particularly difficult to take after winning the toss, inserting their guests and reducing them to 45-4 after 17 overs.
However, the recovery started with Vishane Perera (53) and Ian Crosby (44), before Shamilal Mendis blasted an unbeaten 52 off just 35 balls as Oxford posted a very competitive total of 218-6.
With rain forecast, Cross needed a fast start in their chase but the early loss of Hamza Taj set them back and Matt Watson, Pratik Patel, James Hammerton and Dan Hampton followed shortly afterwards.
At 54-5, Cross were nearly dead and buried and although the lower order rallied briefly with Vikram Banerjee top scoring with 26, they were never in the hunt.
Rimmer said: “We had Oxford at 40-4 but their number seven played beautifully and was the difference between the sides.
“Then we didn’t get our run chase right. We lost six wickets in the first 22 overs and you’re not going to come back from that.
“It’s now not in our hands so we know what we have to do – we have to win our last three games.
“We’re a win behind now and we’ve got to assume that Oxford will win at least two of their last three, so we need to get ourselves back on track against Cove this weekend.”
Cross take on Farnham Royal and Great and Little Tew after Cove, while Oxford are up against Harefield, Aston Rowant and Dinton.
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