GEORGE French was the star of the show for Minster Lovell as they continued their march towards the Cherwell League Division 4 title with a crushing nine-wicket victory at home to local rivals Witney Mills.

On another wet afternoon, Minster skipper Harry Ebsworth opted to insert the visitors, and they quickly had Mills in trouble as French and Leigh Smith reduced them to 8-3 as openers Sam Cross and Pete Claridge were bowled for five and nought respectively, while Adam Mayho also fell lbw for a duck.

Sam Buckfield and Malcolm Evans started a brief recovery, but Evans was well caught by Olly Mersh for seven, before Buckfield was caught behind off the bowling of French for 12.

At 37-5, Mills were staring down the barrel, and their lower order subsided to 88 all out, only Steve Kelly (18no) and Sam Haselgrove (12) making double figures.

French finished with outstanding figures of 5-37 from 15 overs, while there were two wickets apiece for spinners Jack Simpson and Eddie Dunn.

A quickfire opening partnership of 50 between Ebsworth and Elliot Graham broke the back of the run chase.

When Ebsworth was bowled by Burney, Minster needed only 39 more for victory, and with Graham finishing on 61 not out, the home side cruised home in just 14 overs, leaving them 17 points clear at the top of the table with four matches to go.

Neil Smith was the star for Tiddington 2nd as he helped them to a three-wicket victory over Dinton 2nd.

Smith took 5-24 in Dinton’s 120 all out, before top-scoring with 62 to steer the home side to 121-7 to secure maximum points.

Tiddington 2nd 25pts,

Dinton 2nd 8

Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd had to settle for a draw at home to Thame Town 2nd in a rain-affected clash.

Shipton set 198-7 in their 48 overs, Jamie Nelson hitting 45 and Tom Swann 38.

Dan Patey struck 52 in Thame’s reply, while veteran spinner Paul Hemming took 4-49.

But the visitors were left clinging on at 160-8.

Shipton 2nd 18pts, Thame Tn 2nd 6

Horspath 3rd remain rooted to the foot of the table after they lost by four wickets at home to Brackley, who moved up to third place.

Adrian Manger scored 41 in Horspath’s 191 all out.

But it was not enough as Brackley reached 194-6 in the penultimate over, Eric Carpenter hitting 50 and Stuart Berry taking 4-65.

Horspath 3rd 10pts,

Brackley 25

Second-placed Stokenchurch kept up the pressure on leaders Minster with a 17-run win at Bletchley Town.

Stokenchurch had been bowled out for only 109, but then proceeded to dismiss the home side for 92 in their reply.

Bletchley Tn 5pts,

Stokenchurch 25

OXFORD Downs 2nd all but secured their Division 3 status as they beat hosts Great Brickhill 2nd by two runs in a thrilling rain-affected clash.

Downs set 137-5 in their 30 overs as Darryl Woods hit 48 and Paddy Daniel an unbeaten 34.

Brickhill were always in the hunt, but were bowled out off the last ball for 135, with Rachel Potter returning figures of 3-22.

Great Brickhill 2nd 7pts,

Oxford Downs 2nd 25

Leaders Westbury marched on with a crushing eight-wicket victory at Banbury 3rd.

Westbury put their hosts in, and proceeded to bowl them out for just 76 as Charlie Purton took 3-20 and Charlie Harper returned 3-27.

The visitors wasted little time reaching the target, cruising home in 17.4 overs as Tom Wilson scored 61 not out.

Banbury 3rd 2pts,

Westbury 25

Wolverton kept up the pressure on the leaders as they thumped hosts Horley by eight wickets.

Horley had no answer to Idrees Butt (5-14) and Ahsan Malik (3-34) as they were skittled for 90.

Atif Akhlaq (48) then led Wolverton to 94-2 in the 16th over.

Horley 2pts, Wolverton Tn 25

Bicester & North Oxford fell to a six-wicket defeat at Cublington.

They were bowled out in just 19 overs for 128, before Cublington reached 131-4 to secure a comfortable win.

Cublington 25pts,

Bicester & North Oxford 5

KIERAN Beesley took 5-62 for hosts Didcot 2nd, but it was not enough to secure victory at Abingdon Vale 2nd as they ended up batting out for a tight draw.

Leaders Vale posted 190-7 in 47 overs, Rob Hood top-scoring with 45.

Didcot’s Jordan Ford (40) and Beesley (34) shone in their reply, but they closed on 176-8, denying Vale maximum points.

Didcot 2nd 8pts, Abingdon Vale 2nd 16

Kingston Bagpuize moved up to fifth place, keeping alive their outside promotion hopes, with an 89-run victory at home to Bledlow Ridge.

Jordan Smith’s 43 helped Kingston to 173-7 in 44 overs.

George Woodley then claimed 4-19 as Bledlow slumped to 85 all out.

K Bagpuize 25pts, Bledlow Ridge 3

Cropredy 2nd’s last pair clung on for a draw at Kimble.

The home side declared on 236-8 in the 45th over, Jonathan Tizzard hitting 69 and George Deeley taking 4-46.

James Coleman (50), Tom Bunting (43) and Jake Walters (43) shone in Cropredy’s reply, but they lost regular wickets, finishing on 207-9 to deny the home side victory.

Kimble 19pts, Cropredy 2nd 8

Oxford 3rd will finish in the bottom two after a crushing nine-wicket defeat at Long Marston 2nd.

Lee Beesley claimed 5-22 as Oxford were shot out for just 91.

Marston then took only 22.4 overs to reach the target for the loss of one wicket, Matthew Wareham top-scoring with 42.

Long Marston 2nd 25pts,Oxford 3rd 1

The match between Cumnor 2nd and Leighton Buzzard Town 2nd was washed out.

Cumnor 2nd 6pts,

Leighton Buzzard 2nd 6