Horspath will play in club cricket’s top flight for the first time after securing promotion from Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 2 in a nerve-jangling 19-run win over Amersham at the Recreation Ground.
It completes a remarkable rise for the village club, who were only reformed in 2004 following their ill-fated merger with Oxford.
Placed in Division 5 of the Cherwell League ten years ago, they can now look forward to playing the likes of Henley, Banbury and, of course, Oxford, next season.
But before then the leaders will bid to cap a stellar season by capturing the title at Shipton-under-Wychwood next Saturday, holding a four-point lead over Reading. Skipper Will Eason said: “It has been an amazing achievement for the club from where we were dumped ten years ago.
"We would really like to finish it off by winning it.”
Horspath went into Saturday’s game, knowing five points would be enough to secure promotion, and they picked up four of those by posting 224-4 after being put in to bat in overcast conditions.
Robbie Eason and Kit Cutter put on 84 for the first wicket, before the former was caught at long off by Edward Bowcock off left-arm spinner Stephano Joubert for 48.
Jimmy Phillips and Cutter took the score to 142, before the opener was bowled for 42 by Lines, who then caught Shahbaz Ali at deep square leg off Joubert.
Mark Skelton made 32 off 27 balls before he was run out, and Phillips was undefeated on 59 off 69 balls at the close, with his innings including four cracking boundaries.
When Pat Foster (3-19) trapped the dangerous Bruce Friedrichs lbw in the fifth over of Amersham’s reply, Horspath had secured the fifth point they needed for promotion.
Christopher Cann kept Amersham’s hopes alive with a fluent 69 off 84 balls, with ten fours and one six, before he was given out caught behind by Andy Wynd off Ali following discussion between the umpires, making it 117-4.
With catches being dropped, Amersham inched closer to their target as Hugh Jackson threatened to spoil the promotion party by smashing an unbeaten 34 off 25 balls.
But victory was secured as he ran out of partners, and the celebrations went on long into the night.
Now for the title . . .
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