Thame Town beat the drop from Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 2 West with a nail-biting three-wicket victory over Horspath at Church Meadow, which condemned their Oxon rivals to relegation.

It was a joyful end to a tough season for Thame after they had plummeted into the bottom two a week earlier, placing their nine-year stay in the league in jeopardy.

The only consolation for Horspath, in their first season in the league, was that even if they had claimed victory they would have been relegated as Gerrards Cross won at Reading, which also sent the Berkshire club down.

Club coach Manoj Parmar was Thame’s hero with an unbeaten 58 – including four sixes and two fours – to steer his side to victory at 206-7 with five balls to spare.

Earlier, Horspath skipper Adam Krol sprang a surprise by electing to bat first after winning the toss.

Jimmy Phillips survived an early caught and bowled chance to Thame skipper Sam Lachlan to go on and make a classy maiden Home Counties century, completing his ton with a six over mid-wicket off the last ball of the innings to finish 104 not out.

He shared in a second-wicket stand of 109 with Matt O’Connor (45), but it took a quickfire knock from Jack Biggs (28) to take Horspath to 202-6 as left-arm spinner Jaydeep Bhatti took 3-80.

Thame were in some trouble at 78-4, but then Bhatti (49) shared a stand of 87 with Parmar to get them back on track.

After Bhatti became off-spinner Paul Jeacock’s 200th Home Counties victim – and wicket-keeper Andy Wynd’s third stumping of the game – Thame survived some late jitters.

Krol dismissed Ed Barnett and Seetal Patel, and Parmar had a let-off when he was dropped by Mohson Rana in the deep in the closing overs.

Fittingly, skipper Lachlan hit the winning boundary to spark Thame’s celebrations.

Scores: Horspath 202-6 (J Phillips 104no, M O'Connor 45, J Bhatti 3-80), Thame Town 206-7 (M Parmar 58no, J Bhatti 49, P Patel 34, P Jeacock 3-96).