Three run outs cost Oxford Downs their second win of the season as their Cherwell League Division 1 match at Banbury 2nd ended in a dramatic tie.
Amin Rafiq, Tomas King and Johnny Law all perished to leave Downs on 209 all out in reply to Banbury’s 209-9.
The home side’s innings was built around Ed Phillips’ 68 and Will Briggs’ 53.
Wes Bartlett (46) and Will Watts (45) shone, but Bradley Taylor (3-67) and keen fielding earned Banbury the tie.
Adam Price (3-7) and Harvey Eltham (3-36) sparked a collapse at Oxford 2nd, where Cumnor were in trouble until Carl Thompson (30) dragged them to 132.
Price (60no) and Vishane Perera (33) then took Oxford to 133-5 from 43.2 overs as the hosts passed their rivals in the table.
Will Sutcliffe (72), Hassam Mushtaq (68) and Michael Beard (43) took Thame Town to 255-5 from 53 overs after they elected to bat at home to Great Brickhill.
The visitors had a go after tea, with Michael Baker (49) and Anton de Beer (41) giving them hope, but Mushtaq took 5-70 and Mike Higgs picked up 3-30 to leave Brickhill on 222-9.
Tiddington edged towards safety by beating Wolverton Town and so all but ending their opponents’ title aspirations.
Sam Hollingshead produced another super show, taking 5-35 from 13 overs to help dismiss Town for 165. Zak Wade (46) and Shahzad Mohammad (40) scored more than half the runs.
Opener Tom Rowley (33) and veteran Jon Talbot (51) looked like taking the hosts to an easy win, before Naeem Shahzad (3-19) almost turned the game on its head. But Tiddington eventually made it to 166-8 with 16 balls to spare.
Buckingham Town need 15 points from their final three matches to secure the title after brushing aside Twyford.
The hosts collapsed once Bilal Afzal was out for 59, with James Gear taking 6-46 to bowl them out for 156.
Ashley Pearson (41) and Callum Price (37) ensured the result was never in doubt, and although Rory Lyon took 3-50 Town cruised to 157-3.
Horspath 2nd breezed to an easy 69-run victory at Abingdon Vale on Saturday to thrust themselves into the thick of the Division 2 title race.
On a day when neither of the top two could manage a win, Horspath moved within 14 points of the summit with three matches to go and 75 points to play for.
Their two remaining home games – against Cublington and Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts – are eminently winnable, so all could hang on their visit to fellow contenders Long Marston on Saturday, August 30.
Put in to bat on a typically slow Hales Meadow pitch, Horspath’s total of 174-9 was more impressive than it might sound.
Jehan Mohammed top-scored with 48, while Vale left-arm spinner Paul White carried the attack yet again by taking 4-42.
Vale’s problem for the past decade has not been with its bowling, but with batsmen who fail to apply themselves and struggle to chase relatively low totals.
The same issue arose again at the weekend, when they stumbled to 107 all out to leave themselves only one off the bottom.
The number of teams to be relegated is still not known due to the complexities of the league pyramid.
However, Vale may yet need one more win to avoid the drop, and face current leaders Leighton Buzzard Town on the final day.
Cropredy need a miracle to avoid finishing bottom after slipping to a five-wicket defeat at home to Challow & Childrey.
The hosts were up against it when Ross Packham took 5-43, including the dismissals of Richard Lynch (70) and Jordan Glazier (40). Olly Dimbylow helped out by taking 3-45.
Cropredy’s total of 179 was never going to be enough once Ryan Gordon (68) and Justin Penrose (30) got them off to a good start, and Fred Walker (48) was out just before Challow reached 181-5.
Dominic Whatman took 4-43 for Aston Rowant 2nd, who stunned leaders Leighton Buzzard Town by beating them on their own patch.
Put into bat, Rowant compiled a very competitive 194-7 thanks to Leigh Lewis (47no), Chris Eaton (37) and Thad Cooper (32).
Six of Town’s top seven got in and got out, including Dave Roberts (34), as Whatman and Tim Foster (3-20) dismissed the home side for 165.
Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts’ promotion hopes look over after they fell 59 runs short at title-chasing Long Marston.
The home side made 230-8 after being asked to bat, with James Beesley (45) and Matt Shepherd (41) to the fore while Sanjay Vinjimoor took 3-61.
JP Engelbrecht then took 3-41 to end Nondies’ chances, but Nick Smith (31no) and Aadam Samiullah (30) saw them to 171-8.
Cublington collapsed to 147 all out after being inserted by Bledlow Village, who are now in with a great chance of clinching promotion to the top flight for the first time.
Visitors Bledlow made light work of the chase, easing to 148-4.
Leaders Great & Little Tew 2nd stole a march on their nearest rivals by thrashing Bletchley Town while Sandford St Martin could only manage a draw.
Hosts Tew made 224-9 declared from 43 overs. Robbie Catling (42), Tom Young (37) and Robbie Shurmer (35) were the main contributors, while Sam Newman took 5-49.
Town were rolled over for 109 by Shurmer (4-35) and Jack Belmont (3-22), and were docked five points for not having a scorer.
Sandford St Martin elected to field and then allowed Bicester & North Oxford get away to 260-6.
Nick Moorman made 88 while Daniel Murphy and Richard Simpson added 61 apiece.
Chris Thompson (72) and Tim Lowe (70) kept things interesting, but Kishan Dave took 5-34 to leave Sandford on 239-8.
Didcot closed in on second place when they won at Buckingham Town 2nd by the narrowest of margins. Ian Demain took 4-50 as Town were bowled out for 198, of which Harry Martin made 45.
Demain then hit an unbeaten 43 as stuttering Didcot stumbled over the winning line on 199-9.
Simon Pritchard (37) and Henry Brisland (30) also made valuable runs, while Saajan Patel (4-45) and Dominic Pritchard (4-58) were left frustrated.
Steve Bates hit a majestic 147 from 149 balls as Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd crushed guests Banbury 3rd by eight wickets.
Banbury would have been happy enough after Alistair Martin (72no) and Jordan Helps (46) took them to 203-5.
But Bates and Jeremy Kirby (36no) added 139 for the first wicket as Shipton raced to 206-2.
Dinton 2nd forfeited their scheduled match away at Oxford Downs 2nd.
Division 4 leaders Horley were held to a draw at East Oxford, but stay in pole position to lift the title.
Urfan Ahmed made 69 in the home side’s 177-9, matched by the bowling of Adam Webb (3-29). The visitors fell behind the required rate as Tanveer Alam took 3-36 and closed on 128-8.
Blewbury & Wallingford moved closer to the top, ousting Leighton Buzzard Town 2nd for 90.
Charlie Sutton (4-43) and Warren Ainsworth, who took 4-10 from ten overs, wreaked havoc.
The hosts made heavy weather of the chase, but Joey Edwards (30no) saw them to 91-5.
Witney Mills triumphed in a topsy-turvy affair with Chearsley. Adam Mayho hit 96 to rescue Mills from a poor start and take them to 226-9.
Chearsley reached 140-1 thanks to William Saurey-Cookson (77) and Neil Davies (67), before spinners Sam Haselgrove (5-76) and Steve Kelly (3-44) saw them crash to 211 all out.
Matthew Warner took 5-47 as Kingston Bagpuize bowled out Bledlow Ridge for 168.
Wily Richard Giles helped out by taking 3-41, as Russ Turner was stranded on 82 not out.
Dave Warner then hit 69 in Bagpuizes’s 169-4.
Barry Webb fired 85 not out as Great Brickhill 2nd made 175-2 and so beat Kimble with ease.
The visitors’ 174 all out had featured 55 from Jordan McRae and good spells from Hamid Miah (4-49) and Kieran Burke (3-66).
Sam Roberts took 8-36 for Twyford 2nd as Bledlow Village 2nd crumbled to 158 in Division 5.
The hosts started well through Olly Woodward (64) and James Bacon (35), but no one else managed double figures. Ed Blight then hit 38 in Twyford’s 159-5.
Stokenchurch beat Oxford 3rd by nine runs to stay top.
Andrew Busby (3-55) had the leaders in trouble on 55-5 before Majid Ahmed hit 57. Mark Murfett (4-46) mopped up the tail as the hosts ended on 183.
The visitors were set when Nabeel Khan hit 50, but Stefan Read took 5-50 as they were all out for 174.
The division is so tight that Oxford finished the day in eighth, but would be second had they won.
Tiddington 2nd beat Didcot 2nd to boost their own promotion hopes and consign their hosts to a bottom-placed finish.
The home side reached 148 all out, with Oliver Delamore (44) and Andy Griffiths (42) the only batsmen to get going.
Tiddington made150-6 despite the best efforts of Tim Allen (3-23).
Joel Washbourn-Calcutt hit 91 as Cumnor 2nd gained maximum batting points by reaching 220-8 at home to Abingdon Vale 2nd. He added 116 for the third wicket with George Glew (34).
Matt Darley took 4-46 for the visitors, who were restricted to 152-7 by Michael Jones (4-49).
Eric Carpenter compiled 79 for Brackley against Thame Town 2nd, for whom Alistair Thomas took 5-48.
The home side’s 191-7 was beyond Town, who crawled to132-6. Matt Furness hit 41, Olly Sutcliffe scored 35 and Matthew Lowe took 3-26.
Talented youngster Jake Taylor continues to make his mark for Cumnor 3rd who defeated hosts Banbury 5th by 26 runs in their Division 8 clash.
The 13-year-old carried his bat for 85 and as wicket-keeper was on the field for every ball.
He has now scored 216 runs for once out in four weeks. Cumnor made 215-5 then skittled Banbury for 189.
In Division 6, Asad Rafiq scored exactly 100 not out in Horspath 3rd’s 221-6. That proved too much for hosts Childrey & Childrey 2nd, who slipped to 102 all out.
Sandford St Martin 2nd made hay at home to Abingdon Vale 3rd in Division 7, but couldn’t force the victory despite clocking up a mammoth 278-3. Mark Cook was the star with 124. In reply, Vale finished on 156-8.
Den Harvey took 5-17 for Witney Mills 2nd as Bledlow Village 3rd were shot out for 66 in Division 9.
Mills eased their way to success with 67-2.
Aston Rowant 4th enjoyed a comfortable 116-run triumph at home to Shipton-under-Wychwood 4th who were dismissed for 100.
Billy Morris took 5-6 as Shipton chased a total of 216-6.
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