BEN MILLAR is confident that Cookham Dean can secure enough wins in the remaining four matches to avoid a battle against relegation this season.

Cookham have gone seven weeks without a win – four defeats, one draw and two abandoned matches – leaving them eighth in Thames Valley Division One and 16 points above the two relegation places.

The Dean suffered a four-wicket defeat at home to runaway leaders Wokingham on Saturday but, with a string of must-win matches in the coming weeks, starting with a visit from bottom side Finchampstead 2s this Saturday, Millar has backed his side to climb out of trouble.

The Cookham captain told the Observer: “On paper, Finchampstead is a game we would win, but I expect them to get a couple of players in so we’re not taking anything for granted.

“For the next three weeks we’re playing sides in the bottom half so hopefully we can pick up some wins and move up the table.

“We’re confident that we will be able to string together a few wins and, if we could get three of four, then we will be up challenging the top six.”

Millar won the toss and elected to bat first at Ricketts Field with Cookham reaching 213-5 from their allotted 52 overs.

The leading scorers, opener Chris Marrow (81) and number three Yash Rastogi (50), put on 86 runs for the second wicket after Millar fell for 22, while Tom Fray finished unbeaten on 34*.

Anthony Clapham was the pick of the Wokingham bowlers with his figures of 2-35 and the other wicket fell to Paul Dewick (1-49).

In response, the visitors closed on 214-6 for the victory with three balls remaining and thanks largely to an unbeaten century (100*) from Stuart Parsons.

The opening batsman put on 104 runs for the first wicket with captain Stuart Hayter (48), while Dan Housego made 17, and Jacob Clark and Clapham both added 14.

Tapiwa Mufudza led the Cookham bowling attack with figures of 3-75, backed up by Yasir Qureshi (2-72).

Millar commented: “We were playing top of the league and produced a decent total to run them pretty close, we took them to the last over.

“We made a slow start with the bat so could not get up to around 240, which we would have liked, but batting conditions were difficult early on. The outfield was slow and actually sped up at the game went on.

“Our batting was okay but, with the ball, the first Wokingham partnership probably got away from us.

“We struck out a couple of their better players and had them six wickets down, so had a chance, but it was probably unlikely at that stage.

“But, if you were a neutral, you would say there was nothing between the top of the league and a side fighting relegation.”

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