Karl Pearson: We are the best Vine side since the 1997 team
VINE skipper Karl Pearson says his current crop of players is the best since Sevenoaks last lifted the Kent Premier title more than 14 years ago.
Pearson returned from a two-week break at the weekend and, in his absence, a young, Oliver Howick-led team maintained their fine run of form extending it further last Saturday with a win at Canterbury.
Four players lost their first team positions for the showdown - a sign of the selection headache Pearson must be feeling as he tries to find space for a plethora of early season star-performers.
Despite the dilemma, he insists it is a very useful annoyance.
"We have at least 16 very strong players here. According to the stats we have three of the top five batsmen in the league, and in Tom Parsons the top bowler. So we're obviously playing well.
"I think the club is as strong as it has been since they last won the Premier League. But our target for a top-three finish remains the same. We have three big matches coming up against Hartley, Blackheath and Bromley. Hartley are the favourites for the title in most people's books and have the resources to bolster their side for the big games.
"I've said since the beginning that we would try to get to half way until we're at full strength and we're still not quite there.
"[Luke] Blackaby and [Mike] Barber will be back on the June 28. At this stage we have to keep our feet on the ground. We are aiming for top-three and, of course, one of those positions is first."
Vine begin their tough stretch with an away trip on June 16 to early leaders Blackheath, who, luckily for Pearson and his men, recently waved goodbye to Mohammad Ashraful as the international returned home to Bangladesh.