CRICKET: Blanchard stars as Banbury return to top

The Oxford Times: Ashley Blanchard Ashley Blanchard

ASHLEY Blanchard claimed a five-wicket haul as Banbury returned to the top of Division 1 after a nervy three-wicket success at Harefield.

Bowlers were on top in a tight clash that saw only two batsmen score more than 20, one from each side.

But Blanchard’s unchanged spell of 5-51 off 19.4 overs proved crucial as Banbury dismissed their hosts for 116 in the 40th over.

However, Jimmy Phillips’ side were made to work hard for their victory, surviving several scares before claiming maximum points in the 31st over.

The result sees Banbury, who went into the game ten points behind Burnham, move eight ahead of the morning leaders after they lost against Henley.

Blanchard made the opening breakthrough, before Liam Manley got in on the act as Harefield fell from 40-1 to 62-7.

Scott Morris, batting at No 9, led the recovery with an unbeaten 32, but Blanchard had the final say by removing Tom Day to clinch his fifth victim.

Nine of the ten wickets went to catches.

In reply, no Banbury batsman could build on starts as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

Jonny Cater top-scored with 24, with Richard West and Ollie Wright eventually seeing Banbury home, despite the efforts of Dhavalkumar Norotam, who claimed 4-44.

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