Gayashan Munasinghe the key man in Cowdrey climb
IT doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the exploits of Gayashan Munasinghe, with bat and ball, have played a pivotal role in Cowdrey's rise this season.
The Sri Lankan-Italian has been in imperious form as Cowdrey, in their first season as a Kent League Division Four side, have played themselves into the promotion places.
Shan tops the league's run scoring charts with 419 and lies second in the wicket-taking on 25, including that stunning return of 8-9 against Betteshanger a few weeks ago. He was at it again at Macknade on Saturday, hitting his first ton of the season and taking four wickets as Cowdrey won their fifth game on the bounce.
"Shan is having a terrific season," club secretary Bill Warner said. "He's not just starring in our division.
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"Overall, in all the Kent Leagues, he's third in the run scoring charts and joint fourth in the wicket-taking in all 12 divisions. He's got a sponsorship deal with Willowstix which he is pleased with – it's all going well.
"He's such a likeable guy, a good club man. He coaches the kids and is a very, very popular member – he keeps coming back. We realise we are lucky to have him. This may be his last season, who knows?
"It appears we rely on Shan a lot and we do. Without him we wouldn't be where we are.
"But our performances all over are improving."
The likes of Ross Pilkington and Rob Fenwick have come into the team in the past couple of weeks and impressed, while Dirk Brink and Nick Farr – just out of colts cricket – have done well for the firsts and seconds. With university lads, Jack Mutch and Will Needham coming back into the reckoning and Andy Hammond fit again, things could get even better.
"Other teams may also get stronger in the second half of the season," Warner said. "We just don't know. We could end up in the top two, but we haven't set out our stall to do so.
"Put it this way, we wouldn't be disappointed if we don't. We don't want to be up too far and then have a season when Shan doesn't come back and then be out of our depth."
He added: "We are in promotion places at the moment but the division is so tight. Out of all the 12 divisions this has the least points between top and bottom.
"A couple of wins and you're at the top. A couple of defeats and you're down with those at the bottom. We've won five on the trot but we aren't counting our chickens at this stage."