THE pick of the Home Counties Premier League action was at Thame Town, where the cricket season belatedly began with a bang.

Visitors Wargrave looked poised to take victory as they closed in on their hosts’ 186-8.

But Jonathon Jelfs turned the tide, taking one wicket before engineering a run out off the final ball to clinch a three-run success.

Earlier, Olliver Ebsworth-Burland’s 52 had set a platform alongside the quick-scoring Shahbaz Meer (34).

They lost five wickets for 21 runs, before an unbroken stand of 38 between James Adams (34) and Andrew Russell proved crucial.

Banbury produced an excellent performance with the ball to set up an emphatic seven-wicket win at Horspath.

With both sections merged after cricket was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the top-flight visitors sent second tier Horspath crashing to 127 all out after electing to bowl first.

Oxford Mail:

  • Horspath captain Lloyd Belcher looks to score quick runs late in their innings against Banbury

The home side were well placed at 56-1, but David Whiteley (3-28) sparked a dramatic collapse with the last nine wickets going down for just 71 runs.

It never looked enough as Banbury eased to victory at 130-3 with 15.3 overs to spare.

Skipper Lloyd Sabin led the way with an unbeaten 46 off 44 balls, finishing the game in style with his fourth six, as new Horspath captain Lloyd Belcher picked up 3-30.

An unbeaten century stand between Curtly Slatter and George Sandbach guided Oxford Downs to an eight-wicket thumping of Buckingham Town.

Jack Deal (73) led the way for the hosts as they reached 200-4 from their 40 overs.

But Downs responded in fine fashion, with Freddie Smith (37) getting their reply off to a solid start.

Slatter (52no) and Sandbach (50no) then finished the job, helped by 45 runs in extras, to reach the target with more than six overs to spare.

Robin Pritchard’s rapid 64no was in vain as Aston Rowant lost by five wickets at home to Henley.

After being put in, Rowant made a decent effort of their innings.

The highlight was a 78-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Pritchard and Christopher Watling (44).

Pritchard hit three sixes in his knock, which came off 54 balls, helping the hosts reach 233-7.

Henley were quick to assert themselves, though.

Michael Roberts (80) and Jack Davies (69) combined in a quick-scoring second wicket stand of 128 to put them on top.

They both fell in quick succession and two more wickets followed to haul Rowant back into the contest.

But Henley were able to find another gear in the closing stages to reach their victory target with seven balls remaining.

George Tait took 4-26, but it could not prevent Oxford from going down by 50 runs at Slough.

Three of the home side’s first four batsmen fell to Tait, but not before all had made a useful contribution to the scorecard.

While Mohammed Avas Anwar top-scored with a modest 31, a succession of solid scores edged them to 203-7.

Elliot Mathews (33) and Dylan Swanepoel (31) led the Oxford resistance, but their chase was undermined by several single-figure scores.

At 104-7 they had a mountain to climb and despite some entertaining strokes from Freddie Simon, it never looked like being enough.

They were dismissed for 153 in the penultimate over.