Tiddington’s travails at the foot of Division 1 continued on Saturday when they were on the wrong end of a draw at home to fellow strugglers Oxford Downs, writes GRAHAM SCOTT.
The newcomers to the top flight had picked up their first win seven days previously, but never looked like chasing down the visitors’ 191 all out and so allowed their opponents to leapfrog them in the table.
Downs have made an even worse start to the season, losing all four of the matches that had survived the weather.
Put into bat on Saturday, the loss of four early wickets left them in trouble until opener James France (70) was joined by Amin Rafiq (32).
By the time Matt Johnston (4-55) swept through the Downs tail, they had put together what was to prove an unassailable total.
Oxford Downs' Richard Beer troops off after being trapped lbw by Tiddington's Nick Pykett
Four of Tiddington’s top five managed only seven runs between them as their reply got off to a disastrous start, and it was left to veteran Jon Talbot (40) and the bowlers to salvage a draw.
Cumnor’s first win has left both these sides too far behind the pack for comfort with the season almost halfway through, and they need to start winning before it is too late.
- Tiddington 7pts, Oxford Downs 18
The top-of-the-table clash between Oxford 2nd and Buckingham Town turned into a thriller, ending as a draw with the scores level.
Hosts Oxford won the toss, chose to bat and reached 167 before being bowled out at the end of the 50th over.
Adam Price, who played a key role in the game, made 51, while Ben Stafford took 3-33 for the visitors.
Town were well-placed after reaching 50 without loss.
But Price made the breakthrough and they promptly collapsed to 96-6, Andrew Clough doing the damage with a spell of 4-49.
Steve Brunning (37) stood firm, before Price (5-44) returned to reduce Buckingham to 152-9.
Then the last pair of Lester Smart and Jason Ell all but pulled off the win in a breathless finish, as the visitors finished on 167-9.
- Oxford 2nd 15pts, Buckingham Town 13
Banbury 2nd’s 16-year-old seamer Bradley Taylor ripped through the top half of Cumnor’s batting line-up to finish with 5-26 from seven outstanding overs.
John Williams then steadied the ship with 79 as the visitors recovered to 175 all out.
Andrew Sabin (30) aside, the Banbury batsmen struggled against Devane Warner (4-45) and were eventually all out for 133, suffering a 42-run defeat.
Thame Town were put to the sword after choosing to field at home to Wolverton Town, who responded by whacking 307-7.
Naeem Shahzad (65) and Zahoor Malik (61) made hay.
Thame were never in the hunt after tea, but Will Sutcliffe (68) and Mike Higgs (45) kept them out of trouble en route to a draw as they closed on 187-7.
- Thame Town 6, Wolverton Town 18
Shahid Mahmood made 69 and Jake Kubinek crashed 42 in Twyford’s 197 all out at home to Great Brickhill.
The visitors made light work of the run chase, reaching 200-4 with 12 balls to spare to win by six wickets.
- Twyford 8 Great Brickhill 25
Abingdon Vale came agonisingly close to their first win of the season, but fellow strugglers Aston Rowant 2nd clung on for a draw to keep their hosts at the foot of Division 2.
Vale skipper Charles Smook led from the front after winning the toss, smashing 78 in their 195 all out.
Tim Foster (5-39) and Dominic Whatman bowled well for Rowant, who struggled against Jason Cardy (4-20) after tea and settled for a draw on 145-9.
Thad Cooper top-scored with 45.
- Abingdon Vale 19pts, Aston Rowant 2nd 7
Long Marston maintained their 100 per cent winning start with an eight-wicket battering of visitors Bledlow Village.
Pete Toovey took 4-19 and Jack Doodson 3-27 as Bledlow were bundled out for 110 in fewer than 30 overs.
Matt Shepherd then hit 51 in Marston’s 113-2.
- Long Marston 25, Bledlow Village 3
Winless Cropredy were one scalp away from collecting maximum points for the first time, but were held to a draw by high-flying visitors Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts.
Ed Somerton (51), Joe Fox (47) and Richard Lynch (43) helped Cropredy reach 208-9 after they were asked to bat.
Arfan Ahmed took 4-59 and Sanjay Vinjimoor 3-52.
Harry Walters (3-20) soon put Nondies in trouble, but they dug in to close on 126-9.
- Cropredy 19, Oxford & Bletch Nondescripts 5
Horspath 2nd’s decision to field first backfired when Pip Webb hit 53 and Adam Goldberg scored 55 not out in Cublington’s 203-6.
Greg Jenkins (5-33) was too good for half the visiting batsmen, who were dismissed for 179 to seal a 24-run defeat.
- Cublington 25, Horspath 5
Only Chris Warboys (49) spared Challow & Childrey humiliation at leaders Leighton Buzzard Town, where they were blown away for 139 by Lee Selfe (4-36) and Dan Scott (3-16).
Scott (44no) and Culley (30no) then came together to take Town to 140-2 with 16 overs to spare.
- Leighton Buzzard Town 25, Challow & Childrey 4
Sandford St Martin squeezed past Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd by the narrowest of margins to stay top of Division 3.
Jim Howe took 5-29 as home side Shipton perished for 161, former Cheltenham Town defender Shane Duff leading the way with 70.
Tom Goffe (35) helped keep Sandford up with the required rate, but wickets kept falling to Chris Panter (3-39) and Valentin Guiraud (3-72) and they only just made it to 164-9, triumphing by one wicket.
- Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd 12pts, Sandford St Martin 25
Crafty Kevin Taylor collected 6-41 and Joe Thomas took 3-30 as hosts Great & Little Tew 2nd dismissed Banbury 3rd for 176.
Ed Smith (56) and Ally Jarvis (40) supplied the bulk of the visitors’ runs.
Tew then cruised to a seven wicket win, with Jack Haggett (94) caught on the boundary trying to bring up his ton, while Robbie Catling was 60 not out.
- Great & Little Tew 2nd 25, Banbury 3rd 6
Jay Morrison took 6-10 for Didcot on a flat track at Oxford Downs 2nd to set up a resounding nine-wicket win.
The hosts were downed for 154, as only Nick Rivett (57) and Graeme Coates (38) hung around for long.
Henry Brisland (71no) and Simon Pritchard (60) then steered the visitors to 155-1 in only 30.3 overs.
- Oxford Downs 2nd 3, Didcot 25
There was an exciting finish at Bicester & North Oxford before visitors Dinton 2nd prevailed by nine runs.
They successfully defended 213-9, which was built around middle-order contributions from Will Ebsworth (53) and Dan Ripley (32). Daniel Savin took 3-47.
Richard Simpson (47) gave Bicester the ideal start, but Ebsworth (3-37) wrestled back control, before Aaron Alison took 4-33 to wrap up the tail.
- Bicester & North Oxford 8, Dinton 2nd 25
Mike Taylor hit ten fours in his 93 as Buckingham Town 2nd amassed 259-7 at home to Bletchley Town.
Ben Talbot took 3-46 before top-scoring with 50 for Bletchley, but Dominic Pritchard (4-47) helped bowl them out for 187 to win by 72 runs.
- Buckingham Town 2nd 25, Bletchley Town 6
Dan Swindells swooped to take 7-20 as Witney Mills handed out an eight-wicket hammering to Leighton Buzzard Town 2nd in Division 4.
The visitors were skittled for only 83, and were then powerless to stop Mills making 87-2, Swindells top-scoring with 37 not out.
- Witney Mills 25pts, Leighton Buzzard Town 2
Darren de Bruyn bagged 5-20 as Horley stormed to victory by eight wickets at basement boys Bledlow Ridge and so maintained their 17-point lead at the top.
Only Esahn Choudhry (35) put up much of a fight for the hosts, who were all out for 99 and then succumbed meekly as Horley raced to 100-2 inside 23 overs.
- Bledlow Ridge 2, Horley 25
Blewbury & Wallingford rolled over Kingston Bagpuize for 101 before knocking off the required runs with ease to win by six wickets at home.
Tommy Newell picked up 5-36 and Charlie Sutton took 3-40 for Blewbury, and only a defiant 25 from number ten Richard Woodley saw Kingston into three figures.
Opener Mark Carey (40) set the tone in the reply to complete a comfortable success.
- Blewbury & Wallingford 25, Kingston Bagpuize 5
Naeem Khan clattered 92 for East Oxford, who amassed 243 at home to Kimble.
Sulaiman Hussain back-ed it up with 46, while Michael Stackhouse took 4-58.
Khan then took 5-35, but Daniel Bull (55no) held on as Kimble reached 162-8 to salvage a draw.
Patrick Prasad plundered 83 for Great Brickhill 2nd, but finished on the losing side against Chearsley.
Marc Hignell (52no), James Veness (47) and Russell Haynes (40) took the visitors to 218-7.
Hignell (4-50) and Ken Baker (3-41) then bowled out Brickhill for 180, 38 runs short.
- Great Brickhill 2nd 6, Chearsley 25
Graham Charlesworth took 4-11 as Abingdon Vale 2nd moved to the top of Division 5 with an 89-run win at Stokenchurch.
Charlesworth’s spell helped skittle Stokenchurch for 99.
Earlier, Tom Pollard had made 55 and Chris Butcher 36 in Vale’s 188-7, during which Majid Ahmed picked up 4-46.
- Stokenchurch 3pts, Abingdon Vale 2nd 25
Gus Shrimpton’s 5-27 saw Cumnor 2nd upset leaders Twyford 2nd by 45 runs.
Mo Chatterji joined in with 4-23 as Twyford were dismissed for 102 in reply to Cumnor’s 147, Ian Perna taking 4-29.
- Cumnor 2nd 25, Twyford 2nd 6
Guy Holmes hit 59 as Thame Town 2nd enjoyed the best of their draw at Didcot 2nd in the bottom two clash.
Holmes’ knock helped the visitors to 278-8 dec.
Carl Hancock took 4-63 for the hosts, who clung on for a draw at 199-9 thanks in part to Travis Green (60) and Prasad Kankadandi (43).
- Didcot 2nd 7, Thame Town 2nd 20
Steve James (48) top-scored as Tiddington 2nd drew at Bledlow Village 2nd.
Leon Desai had taken 4-38 for the visitors, but Bledlow still racked up 258-9 as Matthew Tapping (57) and Marcus Goodchild (53) shone.
Despite James’s knock, they could make only 160-6.
- Bledlow Village 2nd 17, Tiddington 2nd 7
Callum Biel (4-40) and Andrew Busby (4-53) impressed with the ball as Oxford 3rd drew at Brackley.
Chasing the hosts’ 195-9, the match degenerated into a bore draw as Oxford crawled to 107-5 from 47 overs.
- Brackley 15, Oxford 3rd 5
Jack Belmont starred with bat and ball as Great & Little Tew 3rd beat Division 6 leaders Aston Rowant 3rd by three wickets.
Belmont (3-14) and Piers Myatt (3-55) helped limit the hosts to 152 all out.
Despite Leigh Lewis taking 4-44 in reply, Tew reached 153-7, with Belmont unbeaten on 54.
Han van Reen took 6-20 to give Division 7 strugglers Cropredy 2nd a fighting chance of winning at high-flying Sandford St Martin 2nd.
The hosts were dismissed for 152, with Charlie Beeson (64) making a key contribution.
But an upset was avoided as Matt Thompson’s 4-41 helped knock over the visitors for 124 to seal a 28-run victory.
Kunal Patel impressed as Didcot 3rd edged a thriller at home to Oxford 4th by two runs.
First, he hit 50 in a total of 143 all out, Chetan Walia taking 4-35.
Patel then returned figures of 5-38 as Oxford were dismissed for 141, sealing Didcot’s first win to climb off the bottom.
Blewbury & Wallingford 2nd also broke their duck, thumping Horspath 4th by seven wickets in Division 8.
Ian Belcher (89) and Tom Holmes (71 not out) guided the home side to 229-6.
But the visitors overhauled the target with relative ease, Stuart Edwards (84) and Mark Cox (81) helping Blewbury to 230-3 in the 42nd over.
Despite the defeat, results elsewhere meant Horspath still moved top of the table.
Dinton 3rd moved back into positive figures in Division 10 with a ten-wicket thrashing of hosts Didcot 4th.
Dominic O’Sullivan took 4-3, backed up by Robin Plant (3-13), as Didcot were toppled for 106.
It took less than 28 overs for Dinton, who had started the day on minus seven points following a deduction, to knock off the runs.
Openers Tom Flint (60) and David Hodgetts (34) put together an unbroken stand worth 107 to claim the strugglers’ first league win of the season.