Sunday, 5 August 2018

Robertson racks up career-best 6-49 in draw

Will Robertson took 6-49. Picture: Helen Messenger
WILL Robertson starred with career-best figures of 6-49 in Horspath's hard-fought draw at Banbury in Home Counties Premier League Division 1.

The Jersey and Oxford MCCU seamer's haul came off 17 overs and helped bowl the hosts out for 199 after they had been put in to bat. Horspath never really looked like threatening the target against an accurate Banbury attack as they replied with 167-6.

Liam Manley was first to strike for Horspath against his old club, having Tom Bartlett caught by skipper Will Eason with five on the board. Banbury hadn't added to the total when Robertson claimed his first victim with George Tait edging behind to Will Hawtin for nought. Getting movement off the pitch, he struck again by trapping Qaasim Adams lbw to leave Banbury in disarray at 10-3.

Eason then came into the attack, and bowled Olly Clarke for 15 to make it 36-4, before having Richard West caught behind two runs later. Robertson returned just before lunch to bowl Charlie Hill for 15 as Banbury stuttered to 62-6, and he struck again after the break by having Shazad Rana lbw to make it 88-7.

Horspath seemed well placed to record a first Home Counties win over their opponents, but Banbury skipper Lloyd Sabin, who had stood firm since the fall of the first wicket, and Ollie Wright then proceeded to frustrate the visitors. Sabin completed a half-century as they combined to share a club record eighth-wicket stand of 100 before Robertson came back for a third spell and claimed his fifth victim with Clarke edging behind for 41.

One run later, Robertson made it six of the best when he bowled Steven Green for nought, and Banbury were all out when Asad Rafiq ran out Sabin for 89. The Banbury captain's runs came from 174 balls with two sixes and six fours. Eason finished with 2-30 and Manley 1-9.

Horspath lost their first wicket with 18 on the board when Tom Coleman was lbw to Wright, who then bowled James Fitzjohn for 11 to make it 38-2. Robbie Eason had made a patient 23 when he was trapped lbw by left-arm spinner Green to leave Horspath 59-3. Darryl Brown and Will Hawtin took the score to 103, before the former was caught by Adams off Banbury's other left-arm spinner, Clarke, at short third man for 33.

Just five runs had been added when Wright nipped one back through Green's defences, and Hawtin was caught close in by Sabin off West for 23 to make it 138-6. Banbury's bowlers had given Horspath few opportunities to score, and by this stage the target was well out of reach.

Tom Cosford loosened the shackles, though, with some fluent strokeplay. As Banbury brought the field in with the close approaching, he went to a third successive league fifty with a boundary down to fine leg off Graham Beer in the last over, before surviving a slip chance to finish unbeaten on 55 from 54 balls with a six and nine fours. Wright was the pick of the Banbury attack with 3-17, with West (1-16), Clarke (1-41) and Green (1-43) the other wicket-takers.

It may not have been the victory that looked on the cards for Horspath, but it saw them avoid a home Counties defeat against Banbury for the first time, having lost all five of their previous encounters. Horspath picked up ten points from the draw, and are now 36 clear of Oxford, who occupy the second relegation spot, with four games remaining.

Posted by: Russ