HORSPATH’S Division 1 survival hopes suffered a massive blow with a 44-run defeat at home to relegation rivals Slough in the Home Counties Premier League.

Will Eason’s side remain five points from safety behind Tring Park.

But they face an uphill battle to beat the drop with a home game on Saturday against newly-crowned champions Henley and a trip to Great & Little Tew to come.

Slough were put into bat and rattled up 279-8, thanks to Lloyd Paternott (82), Nabil Shah (66) and Shaan Khan (59), Ian Slatcher and Tom Cosford taking three wickets apiece.

Horspath slumped to 30-3, with Ikhlaq Nawaz doing the damage, before claiming his fourth victim to make it 70-4.

Two runs later, Cosford went for 25 and it was only Eason’s defiant unbeaten 59, supported by Mark Skelton and Slatcher, who both made 25, which saw Horspath reach 235-9.

Oxford clinched an eight-run victory at Great & Little Tew.

Electing to bat, the visitors posted 225-9, with Muhammad Ayub (56) leading the way.

Tew openers Harry Smith and Joe White put on 40, but the hosts were soon in deep trouble after losing six wickets for 36 runs.

Jancan Adams (71) combined with Andy Harris and Joe Thomas (38) for partnerships of 56 and 72 respectively to bring them back into contention on 204-7.

But they fell just short on 217-9.

Banbury were incredibly involved in their second tie of the season at Finchampstead.

The hosts elected to field and Craig Haupt was dismissed first ball, before Lloyd Sabin fell to leave the visitors 27-2.

Olly Clarke and Charles Hill (50) steadied the ship, before Richard West (53) put on 81 with the latter for 151-3.

Once they fell, Banbury finished on 200-7.

Finchampstead lost wickets regularly, but were in contention on 165-7, thanks to Simon Bell (46) and Andrew House (32).

They looked set for victory as they only trailed by five runs after 47 overs.

But West dismissed James Woodford, before running out Bell in the 49th over to earn Banbury a tie.

ASTON Rowant further strengthened their Division 2 promotion hopes with a seven-wicket victory at Reading.

The win keeps the Oxfordshire side on top, 24 points clear of third-placed Datchet, with two games remaining.

Reading regretted their decision to bat as Leo Bethell and Adam Muttitt ripped through the top order to leave the hosts on 17-4.

It did not get any better as extras top-scored with 16 as they were dismissed for 74, with Bethell taking 5-13 and Will Pendered 3-8.

Despite losing Alex Jewell, Rowant made light work of the run chase, with Tom Condon and James McDougall leading them to 45-1.

They both fell, but George Reid and Josh Smith steered Rowant home in 14 overs.

Thame Town moved up to second with a thrilling three-run win at home to fellow promotion-chasers Chesham.

The visitors needed five off the last over to secure victory, but Gamindu Kanishka dismissed Alex Watson to clinch maximum points with three deliveries to spare.

Thame were put into bat, Callum Russell (78) and Kanishka (45) leading the way as they were all out for 200.

Chesham were in trouble at 10-2, but steadied the ship, thanks to Robin Pritchard (44), Jason Rance (30)and Matthew Rance (27) to find themselves 156-7.

A seventh-wicket partnership of 36 between Tom Free (34) and Pip France put the visitors in control as they eased to 192-7.

But they lost their last three wickets for five runs, including the tenth in the final over, which included a dropped catch from the first delivery.

Anupam Sanklecha took 5-31 and broke his own Shipton-under-Wychwood bowling record, but could not stop Buckingham Town claiming a five-wicket win.

The west Oxon side were inserted and slumped to 81 all out, with ninth man Charlie Brain top-scoring with 25.

Buckingham chased down the total in 22 overs, despite Sanklecha’s efforts.

The all-rounder now has 58 wickets for the season, three better than his haul in 2014.