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All focused on push for promotion

Captain Oliver Dyson believes his team are all united by one purpose as Collingham Cricket Club 1sts continue their promotion push in the South Notts League Division A.

They moved to the top of the table on Saturday with a seven-wicket success over fellow title challengers Clifton Village 1sts.

After starting the last round of matches in third, Collingham now lead the table by eight points over second-placed Ellerslie 1sts, who they play on Saturday.

They have six matches left to try to secure a Notts Premier League berth.

Dyson, who scored an unbeaten 44 at the weekend, said he was proud of the dedication of his team in their efforts to put themselves in with a shout at the title.

“We sat down at the start of the season and said that the goal was to go for promotion,” he said.

“Every time we put in the hard work and focus into our training and our matches. We don’t let ourselves get complacent.

“There is a really good morale and cohesion within our squad.

“We all know our job and we all believe in each other. When we were five for three on Saturday the whole team wholly believed we could still finish the job.”

Collingham’s overseas star, Muhammad Naeem, has made a positive impact, scoring 732 runs at an average of 81.33.

He’s also taken 25 wickets with his unusual repertoire of ambidextrous right and left arm spin bowling.

But Dyson said it had been encouraging in recent weeks to see Collingham succeeding without relying on Naeem.

“Our professional player (Naeem) has had a very good season and having him around helps everyone believe,” he said.

“However, Saturday was our best performance of the season, and he scored a two-ball duck and took one wicket.

“Knowing we can still do the job when he’s not on top form has given us a huge lift.

“Everyone has contributed to our success, and it helps that everyone turns up with the same goal in sight.

“There is no one here who just fancies a game on Saturday and is here to mess about — everyone in the squad is focused.”

Dyson said one of their most impressive traits was their ability to bounce back after a poor result.

“After the loss the previous week we bounced back with a great performance against a strong side,” he said.

“I think we have had three poor games in our 12 matches, and each time we have followed it up with a good performance.”

Collingham were last in the Premier League in 2005, but their fortunes waned in the following years as they fell to the South Notts League Division C by 2008.

Gradually the club rebuilt, and they have been playing in the South Notts League’s top division since 2015.

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