OXFORD Downs edged a thrilling Cherwell League Division 1 clash against Abingdon Vale by one wicket with three balls to spare to keep alive their outside title hopes.

Downs opted to field first and made early inroads with Will Barker and Jeisimhan Diwaker falling cheaply.

A 53-run stand for the third wicket between Adam Scholey and Amith Premkumar got Vale back on track.

But when they both fell, quickly followed by Arthur Jones, Vale were firmly on the back foot at 92-5.

They never really recovered, and were eventually all out for 161.

Premkumar top-scored for Vale with 33 while Sam Chilvers hit 31.

Will Watts (3-33) and Tom Costley (3-35) were the pick of the Downs bowlers.

Frankie Crouch and youngster Freddie Smith shared 38 for the first wicket in Downs’s reply, before Vale began chipping away.

At 109-7 after the dismissals of Costley and Wasim Mehmood, it was in the balance with Downs needing 52 with three wickets left.

However, Amin Rafiq’s resolute 42 proved crucial, before last pair Jonny Law and Harry Sutton hit the runs needed in the final over to secure the narrowest of wins.

Banbury 2nd moved up to second place as they saw off hosts Horspath 2nd by four wickets, ensuring Horspath remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table in the process.

The home side, who were put in to bat, were dismissed for 224, Richard Simpson taking 3-24 and George Tait 3-45.

For Horspath, Jamie Stead top-scored with a fluent 50 and Mark Skelton made 43

Led by Ollie Morgan (52) and Tait (43), Banbury reached 225-6 to wrap up victory in the 46th over.

Tiddington thrashed hosts Aston Rowant 2nd by nine wickets, leaving Rowant in the relegation zone.

Max Smith took 4-26 to help to dismiss Rowant for 149 in the 44th over, Karl Penhale top-scoring with 69.

Harry McNeilly (75no) and Peter King (42no) then led Tiddington home at 153-1 in 25.3 overs.

Twyford edged a thriller at home to Cumnor by two runs.

Bilal Afzal hit 54 in Twyford’s 262-8, Tom Powell taking 3-64 for the visitors.

Cumnor kept up with the rate throughout their run chase, helped largely by Will Bull (60), Matt Lake (51) and Harry Ackland (47).

But Afzal took 5-24 and Zabiullah Saeed 3-36 as Cumnor were bowled out for 260 off the last ball of the match.

Leaders Long Marston saw off Dinton by five wickets.

Andrew Lane took 5-26 in Dinton’s 119 all out, and then Jeremy Smith hit 35 to help Long Marston to 121-5.

Ross Packham picked up 6-37 for Challow & Childrey, but it was all in vain as they fell to a surprising 55-run defeat at struggling Oxford 2nd in Division 2

Batting first, Oxford were dismissed for 175 as left-arm seamer Packham shone.

But Challow crashed to120 all out in their reply, Kasim Nawaz leading the way with 4-20.

Leaders Bledlow Village proved far too strong for Great & Little Tew 2nd as

they raced to a seven-wicket win.

James Hawkes (4-28) and Matthew Pearce (3-25) blew Tew away for 89, and then Will Woodward struck 46 not out to lead Bledlow home at 90-3 in the 14th over.

Buckingham Town 2nd kept up the pressure at the top after seeing off hosts Didcot by four wickets.

Elliot Matthews (78) was the pick of the Didcot batting, but they were all out for only 158 as James Gear and Nick Bond took three wickets each.

Ben Laycock then hit 61 and Jason Ell 43 not out to steer Buckingham to 159-6.

Cropredy beat basement boys Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts by seven wickets.

The home side set 203 all out, Aadam Samiullah hitting 74 and Joe Butler 71.

Matt McInerney top-scored with 83 in Cropredy’s reply, allowing them to reach 210-3 with more than 13 overs remaining.

A six-wicket haul from Tom Goffe was in vain for Sandford St Martin, who fell to a 21-run defeat against Leighton Buzzard Town.

Despite Goffe’s 6-38, Buzzard reached 242 all out, Antony Francis hitting 88 and Lee Selfe 72.

Steve Dobson (42) and Goffe (30) led in Sandford’s reply, but they were all out for 221.