Wes Bartlett hit 81 and James France made 53 as Oxford Downs finally secured their first win of the season in Cherwell League Division 1 at the expense of Great Brickhill.
The home side’s innings was reduced by rain to 40 overs, from which they managed a competitive 209-5 thanks to Michael Baker (97) and Doug Aris (58).
Steve Roberts collected 3-58.
Downs then raced to 215-6 from only 31.4 overs to climb off the foot of the table.
Cumnor captain Sam Jones took 4-26 to send Thame Town tumbling to defeat and lifted his side into mid-table at the halfway point of the league season.
Visitors Cumnor battled their way to a total of 172-4.
Thame were well-placed while Mushtaq (57) and James Crichton (44) were at the crease, but they received little support as the hosts fell four runs short on 168.
All four results were possible in the closing stages of the game between Banbury 2nd and Oxford 2nd before the match ended in a draw.
Oxford were defending a total of 231-8 from their 53 overs, which featured a fine opening stand between Adam Hall (69) and Adam Price (31) and a useful knock in the middle order by Ian Evans (38).
Josh Hill returned figures of 4-57 from his ten overs.
Banbury’s openers looked like winning the match on their own, with Ian Tew hitting 104 and Andrew Sabin 56.
But Alex Davis (4-48) removed Sabin, and with support from Phillip Evans (3-75), left the hosts clinging on at 228-9.
Tiddington slipped back to the bottom after losing at home to runaway leaders Buckingham Town.
The home side were soon in trouble against Wayne Platts, who finished with 4-19 from 11 overs, and it took Chris Goodman’s 32 not out to steer them to 131.
Callum Price (33) got Town’s reply off to a good start, and although Matthew Johnston (3-43) induced a few nerves, the visitors eased to 132-6.
Zaheer Khan captured superb figures of 7-22 for Wolverton Town and so restricted Twyford to 195-9 from their 46 overs.
Ben Elkington (55) and Shahid Mahmood (49) provided more than half the runs.
Kieran Lampard then hit 75 as Town reached 198-5.
Amith Premkumar produced a match-winning innings of 110 to set Abingdon Vale up for a 21-run victory over Division 2 leaders Leighton Buzzard Town.
He was well supported by Vale’s South African skipper, Charles Smook, who added 52 as the hosts reached 249-7 from 51 overs.
Town looked like pulling off an unlikely run chase while Phil Whatmore (88) and Tom Light (83) were together, but the home side’s teenage seamers Jason Cardy (4-73) and Joe Butcher (3-33) combined to send them crashing to 228.
Horspath 2nd were indebted to Jack Biggs (36) and a late flurry from No 10 Ceri Holmes (32no) as they made 180-9 from 41 overs at Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts.
Off-spinner Mark Strong was the pick of the home attack, finishing with 4-59 from 12 overs.
Andy Cummings then removed both Nondies openers without scoring to put Horspath in control, but Jonathan Guthrie (45no) and Aadam Samiullah (34) held out comfortably enough as the hosts closed on 105-6.
Matt Bolton smashed 101 for Bledlow Village, who hit bottom club Cropredy’s bowlers to all parts before declaring on 223-5 from 51 overs.
The home side were never in the hunt after tea, when Ben Moore took 4-22, and they fell away to 103 all out.
Challow & Childrey spent the whole afternoon at Cublington chasing the game before travelling home with three points to show for their efforts.
The home side declared on 202-4 from 37 overs and Greg Jenkins (4-34) as Challow batted out time with few alarms to end on 144-5.
Aston Rowant 2nd ended Long Marston’s winning run.
Dominic Whatman (71no) and William Whitell (46) helped Rowant reach 169-8 after rain reduced their innings to 40 overs.
JP Englebrecht took 4-44, but Marston should have got through their overs more quickly and they were deducted one point for their slow over rate.
Marston ’s reply spanned only 33 overs, from which they managed 137-7.
Kevin Taylor took 5-14 from 7.4 overs as Great & Little Tew 2nd beat Dinton 2nd to go top of Division 3.
A 103-run partnership between Brennan Gough (73) and Neil Roberts (52) looked like taking Dinton to an unassailable total before Taylor reduced them to 196 all out.
Markus Jeacock then hit a superb unbeaten 89 in Tew’s 197-6.
Morning leaders Sandford St Martin suffered a surprise four-wicket defeat at Buckingham Town 2nd.
Tom Goffe hit 36, but the visitors could manage only 133-5 from their 35 overs.
Town also struggled to score quickly, making it to 134-6 in the 33rd.
Ian Demain (4-23) dismantled the Banbury 3rd batting line-up to set up a nine-wicket win for Didcot.
Jordan Morrison (3-29) was also in the wickets as the visitors limped to 137 all out.
Openers Henry Brisland (61no) and Simon Pritchard (52) put on 110 to put the result beyond doubt, with victory sealed in the 27th over.
Jonathan Meardon took 6-40 to set up an easy win for Oxford Downs over Bletchley Town.
The visitors were rolled over for 123, with Ian Smith (43) and Sam Newman (30) the only batsmen to get going.
Ben Talbot (3-48) made Downs work for the runs, but Harry Anderson (33no) saw them over the line with five wickets down.
Bletchley were deducted five points for failing to provide a scorer.
Two clubs, who have experienced distinctly mixed fortunes in recent seasons locked horns in Division 3, with Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd having the better of a rain-affected draw with Bicester & North Oxford.
Fifteen overs were lost before the start, so Shipton received 44 to Bicester’s 39.
Put in to bat, Shipton were in trouble on 6-2 before the experienced Paul Hemming (36) and Charlie Miller (40) added 64 to turn the tide.
The introduction of Richard Simpson (3-44) brought the visitors back in the match, but Jamie Nelson (37) and Chris Panter (30) kept the scoreboard ticking until Max Small (4-20) cleaned up the tail.
Bicester, chasing a target of 206 to win, soon fell behind the required rate after tea, with Daniel Murphy taking 67 balls to score 37.
And they came up well short on 170-6 despite a fourth-wicket partnership of 95 between Ryan Moore (68) and Daniel Savin.
Ten years ago, Bicester & North Oxford won the Cherwell League, finishing 108 points clear of runners-up Shipton-under-Wychwood.
In 2009, the two clubs ended the season next to each other in Division 1 again, with Bicester going down while Shipton survived.
The clubs have headed in opposite directions ever since – by 2011 Bicester were in Division 3 and Shipton in Division 2 West of the Home Counties Premier League.
At least Bicester have stabilised and have the platform and facilities to climb back up the league structure.
But for the time being they will have to settle for playing against Shipton’s second string.
Dan Swindells hit a stunning 118 not out for Witney Mills, who swept to victory in their Division 4 derby clash with Kingston Bagpuize.
Batting first, Kingston had managed a respectable 177-8 from 46 overs thanks to Matt Warner (69) and Olly Young (31).
But Mills needed only 25 overs to reach 178-3 and go second in the table.
Dave Eaton took 4-35 and South African Darren de Bruyn picked up 4-39 as leaders Horley recorded another comfortable win.
They restricted lowly Leighton Buzzard Town 2nd to 132-9.
The visitors’ victory was never in doubt once Dave Clark (61no) got going, and they reached 134-3 inside 30 overs.
An under-strength Blewbury & Wallingford had a day to forget at home to Kimble, collapsing to a paltry 117 all out against Bradley Rose (4-29).
Ben Mooney (58) and Ewan Crawley (38no) then completed the home side’s misery as they steered Kimble to 118-1.
Only 161 runs were scored for the loss of 19 wickets at East Oxford before the home side narowly prevailed against Great Brickhill 2nd.
Brickhill were bowled out for 80 by Osman Malik (3-3) and Atif Ali (3-27), then the hosts scraped together 81-9 despite the best efforts of Lee Morgan (6-39) and Drew Burrows (3-19).
There was another tense finish at Bledlow Ridge, where the hosts triumphed over fellow strugglers Chearsley by a solitary run.
Ridge’s 175 was built around John Rolfe’s 48, while Peter Holland returned 4-29.
James Veness (47) kept Chearsley in it, but Russ Turner (3-12) and Ian Murdoch (3-61) helped bowl them out for 174.
Abingdon Vale 2nd climbed back to the top of Division 5 after enjoying the better of a draw at morning leaders Brackley.
Put in to bat, Vale made 161-6 from 47 overs through David Atcherley-Symes (55) and Graham Charlesworth (42no).
Matthew Butcher then captured 3-31, but Brackley dug in to finish on 132-7.
Miles Picknett (51) and Arthur Muir (40no) masterminded the run chase that took Oxford 3rd to 170-4 and a six-wicket win over Twyford 2nd to go second in the table.
Earlier, Callum Biel took 3-34 from six overs to help restrict the visitors to 167-7 from 42 overs, Henry Sweeney top-scoring with 45 not out.
Tom Parsons hit 92, Ben Harden made 56 and Adam Jones took 7-23 as Cumnor 2nd dominated Thame Town 2nd from first ball to last, but could not force the win.
Cumnor closed on 219-5 dec after 42 overs, Thame crawling to 90-9 from 38 in reply.
Only Prasad Kankadandi of the Didcot 2nd side had much to celebrate after he top-scored with 37 in their 132-8 at Bledlow Village 2nd.
Adam Tapping took 3-18 for the hosts, then watched Edward Furniss (59no) and Marcus Goodchild (55no) steer Bledlow to 133-2.
Opener John Mackie was ninth man out for 59 as all the other Tiddington 2nd players struggled at Stokenchurch.
The visitors were bowled out for 121, Stefan Read taking 4-43, and Stokenchurch needed only 18.5 overs to reach 123-2, with opener Arshad Latif (52) to the fore.
Steve Palmer hammered a superb century to set up a 139-run victory for Horley 2nd over Abingdon Vale 3rd in Division 7.
Palmer cracked 151 as Horley rattled up 274-6, Abingdon falling to 135 in reply as Alex Short claimed 4-22.
In the same division, Sandford St Martin 2nd’s Jim Howe almost beat Didcot 3rd on his own.
He made 73 in Sandford’s 209-9, Charlie Beeson making a top score of 83, and then Howe claimed 4-25 in Didcot’s reply of 58.
Division 9 produced two oustanding spells of bowling.
Aston Rowant 4th’s Colin Bird sent Chearsley 2nd crashing to 83 all out with figures of 6-11.
Rowant cruised home at 86-4 for a six-wicket victory.
And Trevor Plows captured 6-19 for Stokenchurch 2nd, but it was not enough to secure a victory over Kimble 2nd.
Peter Langford scored 81 out of Stokenchurch’s 126 and then wickets tumbled to Plows, but Kimble still managed to hold on at 79-9.
In Division 10, Rob Berry took 5-30 to set Abingdon Vale 4th up for a nine-wicket win at home to Bicester & North Oxford 3rd, who were restricted to 116-9.
Richard Matthews (49) and Garry Cook (32no) then steered Vale to victory.
2:00pm Friday 19th December 2014
BRIAN Howard’s situation at Oxford United is unclear after head coach Michael Appleton admitted he did not know whether the midfielder would be offered an extension to his short-term contract.
12:33pm Friday 19th December 2014
PIRI Weepu returns to the London Welsh starting line-up for tomorrow's Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens at Allianz Park (KO 3pm).
12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014
JOSH Ashby is good enough to play in Oxford United’s side right now, but the teenager knows his time will come, according to head coach Michael Appleton.
9:40am Friday 19th December 2014
RONNIE Moore is braced for a tough first game in charge of Hartlepool United after comparing opponents Oxford United to Real Madrid.
9:30am Friday 19th December 2014
John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.
Interactive match preview: Appleton and Hylton on goals; Moore likens United to Real Madrid; Howard's future; Ashby; club stalwart departs + video
9:34am Friday 19th December 2014
Get ready for kick-off with our interactive preview of Oxford United's trip to Hartlepool
9:10am Friday 19th December 2014
THERE were times earlier this season when it felt like Danny Hylton was scoring in every game, but Oxford United’s top scorer is not getting weighed down by a sudden barren run in front of goal.
9:00am Friday 19th December 2014
FINDING a predator to turn dominance into goals has been an Achilles’ heel for Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton is hopeful two candidates will emerge over the festive period.
8:00am Friday 19th December 2014
ABOUT 150 supporters have taken advantage of Oxford United’s offer of free transport to tomorrow’s game at Hartlepool United.
7:30am Friday 19th December 2014
North Leigh boss Mark Gee admitted he is ‘wary’ of struggling Wantage Town as his side travel to Alfredian Park in Division 1 South & West of the Evo-Stik Southern League tomorrow, writes Matthew Bruce.