Hill holds his nerve to see Banbury home in a thriller

Banbury's David Whitely, Shazad Rana, Richard West and captain Lloyd Sabin celebrate another wicket against Finchampstead at White Post Road. Photo: Steve Prouse
Banbury's David Whitely, Shazad Rana, Richard West and captain Lloyd Sabin celebrate another wicket against Finchampstead at White Post Road. Photo: Steve Prouse

Banbury made it back-to-back Home Counties Premier Cricket League victories in a thriller at White Post Road.

Lloyd Sabin’s side got home by a single wicket in Saturday’s division one fixture with Charlie Hill hitting the winning runs in a nail-biting finish againsgt Finchampstead. It was a match in which both sides struggled to score runs but still managed to produce a great contest.

Having won the toss, Finchampstead skipper Dan Lincoln elected to bat but he was soon heading back to the pavilion having been bowled by Ollie Wright. Fellow opener Gregory Smith soon followed, bowled by David Whiteley on his recall to the first team, as the visitors were reduced to 46-2.

That soon became 58-3 when Mac Keast was trapped lbw by Whiteley before Billy Rogers and Toby Albert steadied the ship, adding 67 runs for the fourth wicket. Rogers was run out by Hill for 35 runs just as he was getting into his stride and Josh Lincoln was caught by Shazad Rana off Oliver Clarke without another run being added.

Jason Soames and Albert dug in to take the score past the three-figures mark before Joe Thomas struck to take the first of his three wickets. Thomas trapped Soames lbw and Albert soon followed, trapped lbw by Richard West, for 47 runs.

A late rally from Zahcary Jones, who hit 21 runs off 25 balls, helped Finchampstead to 156 when the final wicket fell with Thomas finishing with 3-47, West 2-29 and Whiteley an impressive 2-15.

That target should have been well within Banbury’s reach but they too lost early wickets with Sabin’s stuttering season continuing when he was trapped lbw by Jones with only 22 runs on the board. Clarke soon followed his skipper, caught by Josh Lincoln off Connor Corlet before opener Joe White and the ever-reliable Shahid Yousaf got to grips with matters.

The pair took Banbury on to 83-3 but, just as it looked as though Yousaf would go on to make his first really big innings for the club, he was caught by James Woodford off Jones for 34 runs off 44 balls, which included four fours and a six.

White and West put on another 30 runs for the fourth wicket before Banbury lost three more batsmen without adding too many runs. West was bowled by Corlet, White was caught by Josh Lincoln off Michael O’Donahue for 49 runs off 117 balls which included six fours, with George Tait and Whiteley unable to make an impression as Banbury crept to 140-7.

Wright and Shazad Rana followed in quick succession to leave Banbury still needing one run to win it with Hill joined in the middle by Thomas. And it was Hill who held his nerve to hit the winning runs in the 48th over, finishing unbeaten on 18 runs as Banbury finally got home, much to the relief of his on-looking team-mates.