Paceman Pat Foster’s superb seven-wicket haul set Horspath up for a thrilling one-wicket win at Amersham in Serious Cricket Home Counties League Division 2, with big-hitting tailender Jamil Faruq clinching victory in spectacular fashion.
The picturesque Shardeloes ground – complete with a marquee for a wedding reception – miraculously escaped the torrential downpours which wiped out the rest of the Home Counties programme.
And Horspath made the most of winning the toss in seamer-friendly conditions by dismissing the hosts for 140.
Bowling unchanged, Foster took 7-68 from 22.5 overs – a club record for the league, surpassing the 6-51 left-arm spinner Lloyd Belcher picked up at Reading two weeks previously.
Horspath then pulled victory out of the fire in incredible fashion with Faruq the hero at the death after they had been reduced to 125-9.
Employing an admirable do-or-die approach, he smashed an unbeaten 20 off seven balls, with two massive straight sixes into a neighbouring field off the first four deliveries of what in all likelihood, with time running out, would have been the penultimate over bowled by South African left-arm spinner Stephano Joubert.
Horspath had earlier produced an excellent display in the field.
Amersham reached 42-0 before skipper Will Eason made the breakthrough by trapping Bruce Friedrichs lbw.
Two short rain breaks saw the match reduced to a 49-44 overs split, with Amersham’s other opener, Rob Viney, falling to a brilliant one-handed catch by Jimmy Phillips at cover off Foster.
Eason then won his second lbw decision to dismiss Joubert, before Chris Cann was bowled, shouldering arms to Foster.
Foster, getting good seam movement off the pitch, and Eason (3-51) were supported by some terrific catching as the Amersham wickets continued to fall.
Shahbaz Ali pulled off a diving one-handed effort at mid-off, and Dean Conradie, ahead of a trip to see his cousin playing at Glastonbury, showed safe hands on two occasions as Amersham were all out for 140 off 44.5 overs.
In reply, Horspath were soon in trouble at 6-2 with openers Robbie Eason and debutant Luke Finch perishing.
But Phillips and Ali took the score to 57, before the former was stumped off Joubert just after hitting him for a straight six to cap a fluent 43 off 59 balls.
That was the first of five wickets to fall for 23 runs as Horspath slumped to 80-7, and when Ali was bowled by Joubert attempting a reverse sweep for 32 off 112 balls, Amersham sensed victory.
Their hopes increased when Foster was adjudged lbw to Alex Lines (4-44), but they hadn’t counted on Faruq’s fireworks, which gave Horspath a remarkable win and their first on opposition territory.
It also saw them close the gap on leaders Reading to 11 points.
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