Champions are thwarted by Banbury in a thriller

Banbury's Aizaz Cheema sends down a delivery to Finchampstead's Andrew House at White Post Road
Banbury's Aizaz Cheema sends down a delivery to Finchampstead's Andrew House at White Post Road

Banbury held on to secure a thrilling tie with Home Counties Premier Cricket League champions Finchampstead.

Having posted 200-7, Banbury saw the visitors lose their final wicket in sight of the target in Saturday’s division one fixture at White Post Road where Simon Bell was run out by Richard West going for the winning runs in the final over.

Banbury were inserted by the visitors and were soon in trouble at 27-2 with Craig Haupt out for a duck, caught by Jonathan Dewes off Matthew Carter. Skipper Lloyd Sabin soon followed, caught by Carter off Dan Marles for 14.

The damage was repaired by Oliver Clarke who helped Banbury to 70-3 with Charlie Hill before he went for 25, caught by Bell off James Woodford. Hill, who hit 50 runs off 81 balls including five fours, and West put on 81 runs for the fourth wicket before Banbury soon lost another.

West departed for a vital 53 runs off 68 balls, trapped lbw by Jonathan Dewes. Ed Phillips and Will Briggs took Banbury on to 179-6 and the hosts finally reached 200-7 off their 50 overs.

In reply, Banbury made the early breakthrough with Adam Dewes caught by West off Aizaz Cheema. Fellow opener Andrew House made 32 runs before he was caught by Briggs off Hill.

Banbury enjoyed more success with the ball as three more wickets fell with the visitors only on 104-5 with Marles making a useful 28 runs. But Jandre Coetzee 15 and Bell got the champions back on track at 140-6 before they lost another couple of wickets with Carter making 18.

Wickets continued to fall but the in-form Bell looked as though he would get Finchampstead home. He took it to the final over when he was run out off the third ball by West for 46 runs with victory in sight.