Banbury see their title hopes dented by the champions

High Wycombe batsman Edmund Casterton faces Banbury bowler Karl Penhale with wicket keeper Tom Bradbeer and slip Richard West looking on at White Post Road
High Wycombe batsman Edmund Casterton faces Banbury bowler Karl Penhale with wicket keeper Tom Bradbeer and slip Richard West looking on at White Post Road

Banbury lost ground in the Home Counties Premier Cricket League title race after Saturday’s defeat by High Wycombe.

The champions won by 18 runs in Saturday’s fixture at White Post Road where James Benning edged out Luke Ryan on a day when the bowlers took centre stage.

Skipper Nathan Hawkes elected to bat but High Wycombe were reduced to 61-3 as Bradley Taylor made the early breakthrough, bowling Gavin Baker, before Ollie Wright enjoyed a purple patch as he bowled Edmund Casterton, Hawkes and Benning.

Opener Garth Davson 65 and George Russell steadied the ship and took the champions on to 117-5. But wickets continued to tumble and the visitors were dismissed for 167 runs in the 56th over with George Russell 31 and Alan Duncan 17 the only batsmen to make an impression as Ryan ripped through the lower order.

Wright finished with 3-59 but it was the ever-reliable Ryan who returned the most impressive figures of 4-12.

Banbury got off to a dreadful start in their reply and were quickly reduced to 6-3 as Hugo Darby, Ollie Clarke and Craig Haupt returned to the pavilion without troubling the scorers.

Richard West 18 and Lloyd Sabin halted the fall of wickets and took Banbury on to 56-5. The Banbury skipper and Ryan came together before tea and the pair took the score on to 101-6 after the break before both departed in quick succession, Sabin making 51 and Ryan 22.

Banbury had plenty of overs in hand but wickets continued to fall before the big hitting Karl Penhale began to plunder some runs. When Penhale 16 departed, Banbury’s hopes looked to have gone with him as Benning went on to take 6-52.

Wright and Taylor 12 produced a defiant display to give Banbury fresh hope against the odds and the runs began to come as they edged closer to the target. But when Wright 14 was trapped lbw by Adam Dobb in the 60th over that was that.