CRICKET: Rowant drop fears are eased by derby success

Aston Rowant wicket-keeper Dan Matthews leads the celebrations after taking the catch to dismiss Banbury opener Lloyd Sabin, who starts the long walk back to the pavilion

Aston Rowant wicket-keeper Dan Matthews leads the celebrations after taking the catch to dismiss Banbury opener Lloyd Sabin, who starts the long walk back to the pavilion

First published in Sport

Aston Rowant’s bid to avoid relegation from Division 1 received a timely boost with a three-wicket victory over Oxfordshire rivals Banbury on Saturday.

Skipper Wes Morrick steered his side to an exciting victory as Rowant passed their target of 188 with just two balls remaining.

After being asked to bat first, Banbury lost Lloyd Sabin early on.

A half-century stand between Craig Haupt and Richard West gave them a platform to build, but Haupt’s 33 was to prove their top score as no batsmen was able to build on their start.

Miles Hammond (3-22) and Adam Muttitt (3-26), who each bowled seven overs, produced good spells for Rowant, who dismissed the visitors off the penultimate ball.

In reply, Tim Morgan and Chris Watling put on 53 for the first wicket, and when they had reached 111-2, Rowant were in command.

However, Ollie Wright then picked up the first of his four wickets to have Karl Penhale caught behind by Jonny Cater.

Hammond was trapped leg before by West, and then Dan Matthews and Joshua Smith also fell lbw, both to Wright in quick succession.

At 129-6 in seemed that the match had swung in Banbury’s favour.

However, Morrick joined Richard Cook at the crease and a crucial partnership of 37 set up an exciting finish.

Cook was bowled by Wright, but Morrick led by example and, together with Muttitt, managed to end unbeaten on 29 as he steered his side to an exciting success.

The victory sees Rowant move 19 points clear of Harefield, who occupy the second place in the relegation zone, with just three matches remaining of the season.

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