CRICKET: Rowant's last pair hang on to deny Banbury victory

The Oxford Times: Banbury’s opener Craig Haupt (above) leaves the crease as Aston Rowant bowler Karl Penhale is congratulated on his dismissa Banbury’s opener Craig Haupt (above) leaves the crease as Aston Rowant bowler Karl Penhale is congratulated on his dismissa

Aston Rowant’s last pair hung on to deny Banbury victory in a Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 1 match of fluctuating fortunes at White Post Road on Saturday.

Rowant finished on 165-9 in reply to the home side’s 210-9, but for much of the game looked like taking the leaders to the wire Indeed with 14 overs left, Rowant required 57 for victory with six wickets in hand.

But the fall of four quick wickets – including three batsmen in quick succession to spinner Luke Ryan for ducks – meant that Richard Cook and last man Chris Leaney had to play out the last nine balls for a draw.

Banbury, put into bat, were struggling at 62-3 after Nathan Hawkes was run out by Miles Hammond.

But Johnny Cater (56) and Richard West (48) then shared in a fourth wicket partnership of 57.

Ed Phillips and Cater then added 49 runs for the fifth wicket.

With England Under 19 international Hammond taking four wickets, Banbury struggled to accelerate the scoring.

And only a late flourish from Dean Bartlett and Ashley Blanchard took them to 210-9 from their 64 overs.

The visitors’ innings was reduced by two overs because of a delay for rain before the game and so they had only 54 overs to get the runs.

Banbury keeper Cater had to come off after being hit on the head in the first over of Rowant’s reply, but Ed Phillips took over behind the stumps and made a spectacular catch to see off Tim Morgan. Cater later returned.

Fellow opener Ricky Hopwood and Chris Watling (52) put on 75 for the second wicket before falling to the off-spin of Jimmy Phillips (4-44).

Josh Smith and Watling maintained the momentum and with Hammond and Smith going well, Rowant were in with a chance of victory.

But then Ryan struck his three quick blows to set up the tense finish.

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