ANDREW House believes Finchampstead will need to win all of their remaining five games if they are to pip Henley for the Home Counties Premier League Division One title, writes Dave Wright.

The clash between the top two last Saturday had to be abandoned following torrential rain, with the defending champions struggling on 109-7, and it leaves them 20 points adrift of their rivals.

“It was disappointing,” admitted House. “We were looking to win it, as that would have put us right up there with them.

“The rain may have saved us, but then we’ve a couple of games interrupted by rain which we were probably going to win, so it’s sort of swings and roundabouts.

“It (title) is probably between us and Henley although High Wycombe are not far behind us.

“It is going to be hard to catch Henley and we will probably have to win every game if we are to finish above them.

“We will certainly be looking to win all of them and the good thing is that we are coming into the win-loss (50-50) games where we are really strong.”

House and his fellow top batsmen struggled last Saturday after being put in to bat by Henley skipper Michael Roberts in overcast conditions.

Openers House (9) and Ed Oliver (1) both fell cheaply, caught off seamers Tom Nugent and Tahir Afridi, the pair also seeing some catches put down. Skipper Dan Marles (11) was bowled by Nugent to leave the hosts 29-3.

Billy Rogers and Josh Lincoln lifted the total to 52 before the latter was caught for 12 off Afridi, but then rain stopped play at 60-4 in 19 overs, leading to the match being reduced to 57-48 overs.

Jandre Coetzee (18) was caught behind by Stewart Davison to give Afridi his fourth wicket and when Matt Carter edged Afridi to slip the hosts were 72–6.

Rogers and Craig Hodges saw the 100 up in the 30th over, but the latter was on 14 when caught by Will Legg to give Afridi his fifth wicket.

Rogers remained unbeaten on 41 when the rain brought an end to the proceedings with Finch 109-7 from 33 overs, Afridi finishing with 5-46 and Nugent 2–55.

Finchampstead are away to bottom-but-one Great & Little Tew this Saturday, while Henley host third-placed High Wycombe.

House had a rare failure against Henley, as he had made 84 not out against Horspath the previous week and followed up with 98 off 86 balls for Berkshire 2nd XI when they played their Oxfordshire counterparts at North Maidenhead last Thursday.

And those knocks led to him making his Unicorns Championship debut against Oxfordshire at Challow & Childrey this week.

“It’s good to get some runs and have my performances rewarded,” said the 24-year-old who has come up through the Berkshire junior ranks although it is several years since he last played for the county.

“I’ve had a few 90s this year, which is a bit frustrating. It would be nice to get over the line to a 100 at some point.”

Dan Lincoln did not play last weekend for Finchampstead or Berkshire due to football commitments, but had hammered a sensational 152 not out off just 74 balls, which included 11 sixes and 14 fours, for the 2nd XI (396-4 off 50 overs) against Oxon (201-9).

Rock bottom Finchampstead 2nds (41) were routed by 10 wickets at Henley 2nds (42-0) in Division One of the Thames Valley League.

Rain forced an abandonment for Finchampstead 4ths, who had Yateley 3rds 69-3 in their Division 6b encounter, while the Division 8a game between Finchampstead 5ths and Reading 4ths did not start.

Dan Lincoln smashed 181 not out as Finchampstead (282-3) beat Cookham Dean (196) by 86 runs in the Berkshire Cup semi final on Sunday.