CRICKET: Manley's the hero as Banbury win last-over thriller

Liam Manley

Liam Manley

First published in Sport

BANBURY maintained their position at the top of the Division 1 table with a sensational two-wicket victory over lowly Gerrards Cross on Saturday.

Going into the final over, both sides could have won the game with Banbury needing 12 runs and Gerrards Cross two wickets for victory.

But No 10 Liam Manley ensured there was only going to be one outcome, hitting the first ball for four, and then smashing the next for six.

He then took a single off the third, before Ashley Blanchard nudged another single to see his side home in a thrilling finish.

It looked a tough ask for Banbury as the visitors defied their lowly position in the table with a fine batting display.

Opener Matthew Watson led the way with 77 from 125 balls, before an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 100 between Daniel Hampton (81no) and Sam Westaway saw Gerrards Cross post 257-4.

Hampton’s knock came off 77 deliveries and contained ten fours and sixes.

Luke Ryan was the pick of the Banbury bowlers with 3-70 from 21 overs.

Dan Harris and Craig Haupt got Banbury off to a flying start in reply, putting on 124 before Harris was bowled by Izhan Khan for 61.

Haupt fell two runs later for 63 and when Nathan Hawkes, Jonny Cater and Richard West were all dismissed in quick succession, Banbury were up against it at 158-5.

However, Ryan and Ian Tew put on 46 for the sixth wicket to give them hope.

Ryan went on to plunder 51 from 26 balls, with six fours and two sixes, before being bowled by Vikram Banerjee with the score on 235.

When Ollie Wright was out for a second-ball duck, victory looked unlikely.

But Blanchard and Manley came together to produce their heroics and seal a thrilling victory and maintain Banbury’s 14-point lead over High Wycombe.

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