Market Deeping skipper Dave Gillett finally believes he has assembled a side capable of winning the Lincs Premier Division.
A couple of second-place finishes is the best Deeping have managed in 15 years of contesting the ECB League.
But the signing of local legend Ajaz Akhtar last week could be the final piece of a title-winning jigsaw.
Akhtar proved there is life in his old limbs last weekend with a score of 71 as Deeping beat bottom club Spalding by six wickets.
The 46 year-old is expected to be fit enough to bowl as well this Saturday (June 6) when Deeping host arch rivals Bourne at Outgang Road in a crunch Premier Division clash. Deeping are currently fourth, but just 12 points behind reigning champions Bourne. who are second, and leaders Bracebridge Heath.
Gillett said: “Ajaz obviously brings experience and wisdom to the team, but he also brings calmness and composure. I don’t think he will chase too many balls to the boundary in the field, but he should deliver with bat and ball.
“We have looked a good side this season anyway, but Ajaz improves us and if the squad stays fit and healthy we will have a chance of winning the league.
“The game with Bourne will give us a good idea of where we are. They have a very powerful, and very deep, batting line-up and they are capable of putting big scores on the board.”
Deeping’s top three in the batting order at Spalding of Akhtar, Chris Jones and Gillett have a combined age of 133.
Paceman Tom Andrews (7-43) bowled superbly throughout an uninterrupted 17-over spell for Deeping as Spalding were dismissed for 165.
Bourne go into Saturday’s game in decent nick as well. They dismissed Grantham for 175 before scooting home in just 25 overs and five balls.
In-form slugger Conrad Louth smashed 82 of those from 79 balls. He smacked six sixes and six fours and received decent support from skipper Peter Morgan who clubbed four fours and three sixes in his 41.
Morgan followed that innings with a rapid ton in Rutland Division One against Eaton Socon at the Abbey Lawns. Morgan (100) and Rob Bentley (102) put on an astonishing 220 in just 22 overs for the first wicket.
Oundle posted a club record 295-4 in their Northants Twenty/20 Cup win over Weekley and Warkton. Callum Greaves led the way with a 45-ball 97 against nine men.