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Rob Birch urges Apperley to continue promotion push

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 31, 2014

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Apperley host Lydney on Saturday looking for the win that will put them one step closer to promotion from the West of England Premier League Gloucestershire Division.

Having come close to promotion last season Apperley have looked strong again and have benefited from other sides failing to live up to expectations.

Skipper Rob Birch said: “Before the season I thought teams like Stroud and Painswick might be going up.

“But they haven’t gone that well, we’ve been performing every week, and now we’re looking good at the top of the table.”

Apperley did their promotion push no harm with a convincing 120-run win against bottom-placed Corse and Staunton last Saturday..

Half-centuries from top-order batsmen Luke Smith, Andy O’Connor and Birch himself spurred Apperley to 276 for six, while Corse could only limp to 156 all out in reply, Mark Williamson helping himself to figures of three for six.

With five games still to go Rob said that nothing was guaranteed yet.

“It’s still too early to say and we need to make sure we have a good August,” he said.

“Dumbleton lost, which helped us a bit, but it’s still close at the top and not done yet.

“We’re going to keep an eye on their results, but it’s really down to us.”

Apperley will be boosted by the return of wicketkeeper Tom Rock and a number of other important players, although Rob has been impressed in recent weeks by his side’s squad depth.

He believes his side’s youthful energy will be of importance in the promotion push.

“We’ve got one of the youngest sides in the league, which is good because they’re ambitious,” said Rob.

“They all want to play at that higher level.

“That’s the point of playing, to see if you’ve got the skills to perform at as high a level as you think you can.”

Elsewhere, eighth-placed Bourton Vale have the opportunity to lift themselves clear of trouble at home to Corse and Staunton.

Hatherley and Reddings know a win this Saturday at home to struggling Stroud will put them out of danger.

It is a crucial game for Stroud with at least one of their relegation rivals guaranteed to pick up points.

Gloucester AIW can consolidate their top-four position with victory away at Painswick, who will also have designs on finishing above their current sixth place.

Dumbleton know that victory at home to fifth-placed Woodmancote will help their promotion bid, with current leaders Apperley facing a tricky home fixture against third-placed Lydney.

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