Banbury’s title ambitions receive big setback at the champions

Banbury captain Luke Ryan saw his side's winning run come to an end at Henley
Banbury captain Luke Ryan saw his side's winning run come to an end at Henley

Banbury’s Home Counties Premier Cricket League title charge came unstuck at Henley who completed the double over Luke Ryan’s side.

The champions won by three wickets to take another huge step towards retaining their crown while dealing Banbury a huge blow to their own title aspirations as their five-match winning run came to an end.

Having won the toss, skipper Luke Ryan elected to bat in Saturday’s division one fixture but Banbury were soon in sorts of trouble as they were reduced to 16-4 with Tom Nugent claiming the prize wicket of opener Tim Paine.

New signing Chad Keegan 27 and Lloyd Sabin 21 stemmed the flow of wickets, taking Banbury on to 61-5 but Nugent ripped through the top order.

Keegan scored some timely runs on his debut, with a couple of sixes, against his former club.

But three more quick dismissals, including Keegan, Sabin and Ryan left the visitors struggling on 66-7. Only a last wicket partnership of 61 between Blanchard, who hit 53 runs including six fours and two sixes, and Phillips 18no helped Banbury to 144 as they were dismissed in the 52nd over.

Nugent finished with 4-64 while Tahir Afridi picked up 3-36.

In reply, Michael Roberts 34 and Matthew Rowe 35 took Henley on to 67-2 as they recovered from the early dismissal of opener David Barnes.

Banbury found some success to reduce Henley to 108-5 at tea but, with plenty of wickets in hand, the champions remained in the driving seat.

James Bazley 65 produced what proved to be the match-winning innings as he and Stewart Davison put Henley in sight of victory which came in the 51st over.