LOUIS BLACKWELL wants Maidenhead & Bray to beat rivals North Maidenhead this Saturday and finish the season on a high.

Blackwell and his team have enjoyed an upturn in form since the last all-Maidenhead derby with three wins, two draws and three abandoned matches in an eight-week unbeaten run.

Their latest success came at the expense of Kidmore End last weekend, where Blackwell starred with a five-wicket haul (5-32), and the captain cannot wait for another crack at the Thames Valley Division 2a leaders.

“In the last few games we’ve been doing pretty well, not losing, but not crossing the finish line either,” Blackwell explained to the Observer.

“This new style of cricket [50/50] has helped us. The win or lose format means there’s no blocking out.

“When you’ve been in the bottom area of the table the thought of relegation does play on your mind, but we’ve had a pretty good run of games in the past few weeks.

“We had a good game with Windsor the week before so our confidence is doing well, and on Saturday we had a good win so I’m pretty pleased.

“We will look to finish the season on a high but it will be tough against North Maidenhead. They’re top and doing really well, but it would be great to beat them, so we will see what happens.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: George Parsons of Maidenhead & Bray blocks with a straight bat.

“When we played them earlier in the year they hit the winning runs in the last over and we needed one wicket to win, so it would be nice to return the favour.”

Blackwell won the toss on Saturday and chose to bat first, Maidenhead & Bray capitalising to reach 252-8 from their allotted 50 overs.

Number nine Alkesh Vaja top-scored with an unbeaten half-century (53*) off 50 balls, while Blackwell made 42 and George Parsons added 38.

The wickets were shared amongst the Kidmore bowlers with Jeff Sheldon (2-32), James Frost (2-42) and Umer Faroqi (2-51) taking two apiece.

In response, the visitors were bowled out for 145 in 38.2 overs with Zac Leonard (35) and skipper Frost (31*) the leading batsman.

Blackwell led the bowling attack with his five-wicket haul, while other wickets fell to Henry Grover (3-20) and Ashley Becker (2-17).

“It was a pretty good win for us. We managed to play a good game and win, and I’m pretty happy,” commented the Maidenhead & Bray captain.

“It was a really good batting performance and a good score for our home track. I would have been happy with 200 because we lost a couple of early wickets, but then dug in and put on the runs towards the end.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Simon Ball makes his way back to the pavilion having made 13 runs.

“Alkesh really done well to get his runs but he’s a good batsman. We’ve got a lot of people in this side that can bat and bowl so that’s pretty handy.”

Blackwell added: “So far we’ve stuck to what we can do with the ball, our gameplan has done us pretty well. Our opening bowlers did really well.

“Kidmore have got a good batting line-up but we took early wickets and put the pressure on.

“At one stage they started to build a little partnership but once we took that wicket the rest fell pretty quickly.”

Commenting on his own bowling performance, he said: “I don’t know where it’s coming from to be honest. The ball is coming out pretty nicely which is what to want as a spinner, a bit of rhythm and consistency.

“But, my job is made a lot easier when the opening bowlers take early wickets.”

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