Sunday, 21 July 2019

Horspath battle in vain with defeat at Banbury

Liam Manley shone with 3-27.
HORSPATH took Banbury to the wire before going down to a four-wicket defeat in a low-scoring Home Counties Premier League Division 1 encounter at White Post Road.

Having been restricted to 153-6 on a slow pitch after being put in to bat, Horspath reduced Banbury to 57-5 following a devastating three-wicket opening burst by left-arm seamer Liam Manley against his old club. But Shazad Rana (39no) took Banbury to 92-6 with Ed Phillips, before sharing an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 65 with David Whiteley (45no) to see the hosts home at 157-6 with three balls to spare.

Banbury always looked in control after the pair established themselves, although a maiden from Tom Cosford in the penultimate over when five runs were needed suddenly gave Horspath a glimmer of hope. Singles came from the first two deliveries of the final over bowled by Manley, before Whiteley clinched victory in style with a six over mid-wicket.

The defeat - Horspath's seventh in eight top-flight meetings against Banbury with the other drawn - sees the visitors return to the foot of the table. They are now one point below Slough, next Saturday's visitors to the Recreation Ground, and three points adrift of Tring Park.

Making his first Home Counties appearance of the season, Manley was in inspired form with the new ball. He trapped Joe White lbw for six with the score on 18 and two balls later had Ollie Clarke caught behind by Robbie Eason without scoring. The former Banbury left-arm seamer was bowling with good pace, and he struck again when the dangerous Shahid Yousaf edged into Eason's gloves to make it 28-3.

Left-arm spinner Lloyd Belcher's introduction into the attack then brought immediate rewards when Banbury skipper Lloyd Sabin danced down the pitch to his fourth delivery and was bowled for 26 to make it 51-4. Six runs later, Horspath were celebrating again when George Tait pulled a ball from Will Eason to mid-wicket where Stephen Green took a stunning right-handed catch above his head.

The visitors went into tea in buoyant mood with the hosts 59-5, but they were frustrated after the break by former Oxford & Horspath player Rana and Ed Phillips. They took the score to 92 when Phillips was caught by Manley at short fine leg off Cosford for 13, but that was to prove the visitors' last success as Rana and Whiteley steered Banbury to victory. Manley finished with 3-27 from 14.3 overs, while Eason picked up 1-16, Cosford 1-18 and Belcher 1-35.

Earlier, Horspath, without South African overseas star Darryl Brown after he damaged medial knee ligaments in last week's draw against Tring Park, had found it hard going against an accurate Banbury attack on a tricky track.

Will Robertson and Dominic O'Connor formed a seventh different opening partnership in 11 games, but they were parted with just ten on the board when the former was bowled by Jack Wilkins. O'Connor and Coleman moved the score on to 37 when the latter was caught and bowled by Whiteley for ten, and two runs later O'Connor was bowled by left-arm spinner Joe Thomas for 23.

However, Kyle Hopper and Stephen Green dug in to take Horspath to lunch at 53-3, and they had moved the score on to 82 after the interval when the former was caught behind by Rana off Thomas for 25. Overs were running out, though, and Cosford provided the innings with late impetus with a fluent 37 before he was caught by Thomas at point off Clarke to make it 144-5.

Six runs later, Green fell for a solid 40 when he became Thomas's third victim with White taking the catch at long on. Jamil Faruq and Will Eason ended as the not out batsmen, while Thomas returned figures of 3-52 from 18 overs. Wilkins took 1-12, Whitley 1-21 and Clarke 1-47, with Wright's 11 overs coming at a cost of just 16 runs.

Posted by: Russ