Banbury II saw their dwindling Cherwell Cricket League hopes all but ended at Abingdon vale.
A lower order collapse left Abingdon Vale clinging on for a draw against high-flying Banbury but denied the visitors maximum points to all-but end their division one title hopes in the process.
With Vale chasing Banbury’s total of 175 all out, the home side appeared to be cruising to victory at 152-4. But a cluster of five wickets for 13 runs meant they ended up battling out for a draw with last pair Graham Charlesworth and Paul White holding.
Banbury opted to bat first after winning the toss at Hales Meadow and made a steady start as Tom Bartlett and Ollie Morgan shared 40 for the first wicket.
But from that position Banbury suffered a wobble as they slipped to 80-4, Bartlett and Morgan falling for 28 and 27 respectively, while George Tait and Will Hawtin were both out cheaply.
Although Banbury captain Justin Lambden steadied the ship with a fluent 53, he regularly lost partners, with left-arm spinner White the pick of the attack. His fine figures of 4-35 from 15.3 overs took him to 700 league career wickets.
Banbury were bowled out in their final over with the other wickets between shared between Luke Maslen, Henry Pickford, Joe Butcher, James Golding and Graham Charlesworth.
In reply, Vale appeared in complete control as they reached 117-2, Amith Premkumar opening up with a fine 49. But the introduction of young spin duo Jamie Curtis and Tait turned the tide in Banbury’s favour.
Leg-spinner Curtis took 3-34 from 14 overs while Oxon under-17 skipper Tait claimed 3-43 from 12. That saw Vale slip to 165-9 – still 11 runs from victory – but White and Charlesworth remained resolute to deny Banbury the win as they safely negotiated the final overs.
Sandford St Martin beat Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts by a crushing 112 runs to confirm their relegation.
Batting first, Sandford reached 210-7 in their 53 overs, Chris Thompson top scoring with 45. Three wickets apiece for Martin Anson, Henry Portman and Chris Thompson then sent Nondies tumbling to 98 all out.
Great & Little Tew II slumped to 119 all out and subsequently lost by three wickets at Cropredy as their relegation fears increased.
Jake Heath took 4-40 for the home side as only Curtly Slatter 49 got going for Tew. Ed Somerton then scored 57 in Cropredy’s reply, leading them to 120-87, despite 5-59 from Liam Manley.