Teenage star inspires Dinton to opening day win

Alister Gibbins
Alister Gibbins
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Dinton made a winning start to their 2015 Division Two campaign in the Home Counties Premier League when they eased to a four-wicket win over Aston Rowant.

The Hermits welcomed young star in the making, Saif Zaib, and Australian batsman Brian Sanders to their strong batting line-up, and together with a youthful side, they look set for a productive year.

Rowant were sent in on a slow pitch and responded well with an opening stand of 94 between Tim Morgan (34) and Richard Cook (53).

However, three wickets in five overs to the young spin combination of 16-year-old Zaib and Will Fisher turned the tide in Dinton’s favour, and only Joshua Smith (52 nott) offered to post a sizeable score as the home side took regular wickets to restrict the visitors to 192-9 after their 50 overs.

Experienced Dinton stalwart Tim Brooker was the pick of the bowlers with 3-26, while Saif finished with 2-29 in a fine team bowling effort which had captain Alister Gibbins in positive spirits afterwards, saying: “Apart from a couple of mishaps in the field, this was our most complete bowling performance this year, and it is very pleasing to have that in the games that matter.”

Dinton, however, did not start very well with the bat. Chasing less than four-an-over at a ground where five-an-over is a par score, the top order struggled to settle.

Sanders (0) left a ball that cannoned into his stumps and both Henry Woodward (2) and Ash Smith (4) both chased balls too early to have the hosts in bother at 28-3.

Neil Roberts (22) and Saif (69) steadied the ship with a crucial 47-run partnership and the game was set up for the attacking middle-order to lead the charge to victory.

Captain Gibbins (46 off 29 balls) sealed thye win with a boundary in the 39th over.

“I think it is a mark of the improvement of the club’s mental ability that we got through a tough stage early in our innings,” Gibbins added. “Rowant bowled well early, and while the top four didn’t fire today as a group, our depth came to the fore.

“Saif’s innings was a gem. He has a big rating on him to progress through to first class level and for a 16-year-old to hold an innings together like that was impressive”

Dinton travel to Cove this week in a bid to establish themselves as a Division Two title threat.

The first XI also get their National Village Cup campaign up and running this Sunday with a home game against Twyford at 1pm. All support is welcome as Dinton look to continue their recent success in the competition.

See page 114 for reports from Dinton seconds and thirds.