SHAMI Mendis’s impressive haul and a fine unbeaten knock from Ollie Price helped Oxford ease past Cookham Dean to return to the top of the Home Counties Premier League Division 2 table.

The five-wicket victory saw Jamie Perkin’s side go 11 points clear, with previous leaders Thame Town dropping to third after a 20-run defeat at county counterparts Oxford Downs.

Cookham elected to bat at Oxford and were dismissed for 187 spinner Mendis claiming 5-29.

The visitors, for whom Yasir Qureshi top-scored with 60, were never able to get going.

After slipping to 30-2, a third-wicket partnership of 41 between Yash Rastogi and Sohil Mangat steadied the ship.

But Mendis ripped through the middle order as Cookham were restricted to 136-8, before they were dismissed for 187.

Oxford’s reply started well, with Ollie Price, who hit 91 not out off 161 balls, including 11 fours, and Harvey Eltham put on an opening stand of 56.

Oxford slipped to 82-4, but a 73-run fifth-wicket partnership between Price and Mendis (36) helped the hosts close in.

Perkin then joined Price to steer the home side to 188-5.

Thame’s seven-match unbeaten run came to an end in a low-scoring encounter at Downs.

After being inserted, the hosts were dismissed for 144.

But they had looked on course to set a big total, when openers Freddie Smith (63) and Chris Sandbach put on 93.

The latter became Hassam Mushtaq’s first victim of the day, with the spinner going on to claim 6-32 off 14 overs.

Downs were unable to build on their openers’ efforts as they lost their next nine wickets for 51 runs, Andrew Russell finishing with figures of 4-41.

Thame struggled to put any partnerships together as they fell 20 runs short.

The visitors slipped to 29-4 and then 59-6 as Richard Sillars (5-27) took four of the opening six wickets.

Olliver Ebsworth-Burland (45) and Devane Warner (35) put on 39 for the seventh wicket, but it was only a short reprieve as Thame were all out in the 39th over for 124.

Horspath slipped deeper into the relegation mire despite Lloyd Belcher bagging another six-wicket haul in a battling draw at Finchampstead.

With Tring Park thrashing second-placed Datchet by nine wickets it means Horspath are now 17 points from safety at the foot of the Division 1 table.

Having put Finchampstead in to bat, Horspath bowled the hosts out for 235 with Belcher (6-76) well supported by Tom Cosford (3-66) after Hampshire opener Oli Soames (72) and skipper Dan Lincoln (52) had put on 94 for the second wicket.

Belcher’s haul saw the left-arm spinner maintain his position as the top flight’s leading wicket-taker with 32 victims this season.

When Horspath batted it was a familiar tale as they collapsed to 19-3.

Cosford made a breezy 31, before Will Hawtin (33no) and Belcher steered the visitors to the close at 149-7 as Connor Corlet took 4-34.

Aston Rowant continued their fine form when beating hosts Banbury by five wickets for their fifth successive win over their Oxfordshire rivals.

After electing to the bat, the home side’s innings was dominated by captain Lloyd Sabin, who top-scored with 85 off 137 deliveries, including 12 fours and a six.

Wickets continued to fall around the opener, who helped Banbury reach 152-4, but they collapsed to 189 all out after the skipper became the fifth victim.

Wes Morrick claimed 4-88 and James Coles 3-19 for Rowant.

The visitors slipped to 14-2 and then 66-4, but a 92-run fifth-wicket stand between captain Josh Smith (59) and Chris Watling (46) took them to 158-4.

Alan Duncan then joined Smith at the crease to help Rowant to 191-5 in the 57th over for their third win in a row.