Spencer enter the last chance Premier Division saloon

Howzat: Spencer’s George Edwards appeals in vain as Valley End rack up a 178-run partnership to card 248-5, leaving Spencer with too much to do and landing in the relegation zone

Howzat: Spencer’s George Edwards appeals in vain as Valley End rack up a 178-run partnership to card 248-5, leaving Spencer with too much to do and landing in the relegation zone

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Spencer skipper Neil Baker’s fears about his side’s lack of bowling attack has haunted him all season, and now it could see them relegated from the Premier Division.

Their short-comings with the ball were exposed again on Saturday in a 48-run defeat at home to Valley End, who had been occupying the last relegation spot prior to the win.

Now Spencer, second from bottom, must beat Weybridge this weekend and hope Valley End slip up at home to already relegated Banstead.

Baker had been expecting Singapore national Anish Param as his overseas player, but a late injury prevented his arrival and left Baker without time to find a replacement.

And Param’s bowling figures of 62 wickets for 582 runs, with a best of 7-10, in the Bassetlaw & District League last season suggest he could have made a difference.

Baker said: “The Valley End defeat was similar to our defeat to Sunbury.

“We had Valley End on 55-4, but then our lack of depth in the bowling attack gets exposed and they go to 233-5.

“It’s worse in the limited overs game where our top end bowlers get 10 overs.

“We thought we’d have Anish, but his injury has left us short all season really,”

Valley End finished on 248-5, and Spencer started off slowly reaching 30-4, before Adam Rouse (83) took to the crease – but then events took the game out of Spencer’s hands.

Baker said: “We were rebuilding the innings, but at 94-4 in the 20th over the umpires took us off for bad light – I’ve never been taken off for bad light before – it was a disappointing decision.

“By the time they thought the light was OK, we’d lost six overs and the target had only been reduced to 236.

“It made the chase a lot harder than it had been.

“We gave it a good go, but just fell short.”

Baker would not be drawn on his own future as skipper should Spencer be relegated, instead preferring to concentrate on the matter in hand.

He said: “There are too many variables when it comes to who will be skipper next season.

“For the time being, I have to think about the Weybridge game.

“We cannot worry about what Valley End are doing, we can only concentrate on the things we control.”

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