Norfolk Alliance Division One leaders Stow focusing on an immediate return to top-flight

A Stow batsman is bowled out last season against Fakenham. Picture: Ronnie Heyhoe

A Stow batsman is bowled out last season against Fakenham. Picture: Ronnie Heyhoe - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Alliance Division One leaders Stow are aiming to bounce back into the top-flight by maintaining Premier Division standards.

The West Norfolk-based outfit were relegated last term but before they had even left the changing room on the final day had already discussed plans for gaining promotion. They've got off to a good start by winning all of their completed matches this season and captain Keith Thomson admits the desire to go back up immediately is still inspiring his troops.

Stow's skipper said: 'Everyone to a man agreed we should be, and want want to be, playing in the Premier Division. So we set our goal then. We've set ourselves Premier Division standards all year and that doesn't drop.

'We've won a couple of games recently where we've been below par. We've come off the field and said if we'd have done that on a Saturday last year we wouldn't have won. So that's not good enough. But like I said we're setting ourselves higher standards than ever and it should stand us in good stead.'

The close-season signing of Downham batsman Jack Gould, and added presence of all-rounder Otto Esse, have boosted the quality in the young side's ranks. But their flying start to 2014 has been helped by almost all of the squad sticking together despite going down.

That team spirit, coupled with a fine run of form, has left Stow 21 points clear of Brooke after five games. And Thomson believes his troops' higher-level experience is helping them shine ahead of their latest clash, which comes at home to Garboldisham tommorrow.

Stow's captain added: 'I've noticed the difference in quality. You don't get threatened so much by the bowling attacks. It's not constantly at you. Most sides will have one or two good bowlers that are capable of playing in the league above. But third and fourth second-change bowlers are nothing as a comparison to what you get in the Prem. When you're in you've got to work for your first 30 runs but then it's easy to capitalise and make your big scores.'

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