WINNING the toss will be crucial for Uttoxeter this weekend as they target a victory to maintain their championship charge.
The Town side currently sit top of Derbyshire County League Division Five South as they chase a second successive promotion.
They travel to Mill Hill Lane tomorrow to take on Winshill – the only club to beat them this season – and Adam Johnson (pictured) says victory there and at Rolleston a week later will put them on the cusp of glory.
“There’s still everything to play for,” said the man who skippered the side last weekend in the absence of Michael Skelham.
“Rolleston are third but have a game in hand so they’re hot on our tails.
“But if we beat them, it open out that gap even further.
“We’ve got to face Winshill first though.
“We need to bowl first, and then I think we can beat them, but if they bat second then they can grind a result out.
“It’s a tough place to go and I wouldn’t like to hang my hat on a win.”
If Uttoxeter reach Division Four South, Johnson is confident the team can make the step up to compete at a higher level.
“We’ve got three players in the squad who’ve played Premier League cricket, so the talent is there,” he said.
“We’d need to get three or four players in.”
Last weekend, Uttoxeter saw their lead cut to eight points despite beating Derby Congs in double-quick time.
Ben Brown, Jon Milward and Jan Kasperowicz took three wickets apiece, and the bowling attack impressed Johnson.
“Kas defied his years at times and put in a great shift,” he said.
“Ben Brown was fantastic as well – the aggression he bowls with just blew them away. Rory Middleton also deserves a mention as he bowled really well (conceding just 13 runs from seven overs) despite not taking a wicket.”
With such a modest total to aim at, Uttoxeter’s only concern was the weather, and with rain threatening, their opening batting attack got a bit jittering going for the quick win, with Adam Johnson and Brown falling for just three runs between them.
“We shouldn’t have lost as many wickets as we did,” said Johnson.
“It looked like it was going to rain, so we went for it a bit, and then it didn’t.
“To be honest, I thought we hammered them, and if it hadn’t been for that, we would have won even more comfortably.”
Meanwhile, Johnson is supremely confident that Uttoxeter Cricket Club can earn back-to-back promotions this summer – but says that any success for the first team would be bittersweet were the achievement not matched by the second string.
Both teams won at the weekend, with Dave Whitehead’s second team beating Wootton Sports Club by four wickets to stay second in Division Nine South.
They have a game in hand on leaders Rosehill Methodists and Johnson said it was important the gap between the two teams did not become too great.
“At the start of the season, as a club the main priority was to get the second team promoted,” he told the Uttoxeter Advertiser.
“That’s because we don’t want the step up from the second team to the first team to be too big.
“At the moment, from Division Nine to Division Five is a bit of a leap, and if we got promoted, it’d be even bigger.
“It looks as though the seconds are going to do it, and if we get promoted as well, that would be a bonus.”
The Racecourse will host a barbecue and Twenty20 game on Friday, August 1, 6.15pm, to raise money for a five-year-old boy called Kyreigh, who has cerebral palsy.
His parents are trying to raise £65,000 to take him to America for a operation that will change his life.