Home Counties round-up: Datchet's encouraging start continues with three-wicket win over Oxford

Steven Naylor hit 55 in Datchet’s win

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Datchet's encouraging start to the Home Counties League Division 1 season continued with a three-wicket win at Oxford, a result which carried Joe Barrett's side to the top of the league.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, Oxford managed 252-8 from their 50 overs, with key contributions coming from the likes of Eliot Mathews (83) and Vishane Perera (40).

But, while the top order thrived with the hosts reaching 189-3, they were eventually subdued with Oliver Smithson (4-42) and Steven Naylor (2-37) taking crucial wickets. The run rate slowed dramatically as they were reduced to 218-8 before Dominic Sabir (19no) and Harvey Jupp (16no) cut loose late on to get them over the 250 mark.

Datchet's reply wasn't without its own issues and in contrast to Oxford their top order failed to find its usual rhythm at the crease with Barrett departing for seven and Calvin Dickinson making 16. Ben Brookes managed only six but Billy Mead who recently made his first-class debut for Kent, scoring a century against Sri Lanka, held the innings together with 34 from 56 deliveries and support arrived further down the order.

Steven Naylor's impressive 55 turned the tide while Bobby Sher also batted brilliantly to finish on 59 not out. From a position of 94-5 they eased to a second league win with three wickets and two overs in hand, finishing on 253.

They'll face a stringent examination of their unbeaten start in their next game however, when they host High Wycombe at the Wally Gage Memorial Ground.

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Slough sealed their first win of the season on the final ball as they battled back from a challenging position to beat Aston Rowant by two wickets on Saturday.

Having lost on the final ball in last week's one-wicket defeat to Finchampstead, lady luck was smiling on them this time as they recovered from a perilous position to win.

Having elected to bat, visitors Aston Rowant managed 246-9 from their 50 overs, a target Slough captain Nadeem Syed was confident his side could chase down relatively comfortably.

Naveed Akhtar was their star man with the ball, taking 4-39 to help grind the visitors' innings to a close.

But Slough’s top order hasn't been firing on all cylinders as they attempt to find their feet in the higher division and, at 94-5, their hopes of victory looked slim at best.

However, Kashif Ali (76no) batted diligently to keep them in the hunt and some impressive hitting from Azeem Dharani (29) and Akhtar (32) hauled them closer to their target.

They still needed 45 runs off the final four overs, and 12 off the final over, however, Ali and Syed got them over the line, with Ali smashing two mighty sixes in the last over to tie the match before Syed hit the winning single off the final ball.

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Wargrave sit level on 40 points at the top of Home Counties League Division 2 after wrapping up their second league win with a two-wicket success against Horspath. Having thumped Chesham by eight-wickets in their opening game, Wargave will have taken plenty of confidence into Saturday's match.

However, both sides struggled to score runs on a day when the bright, sunny, conditions should have favoured those at the crease.

Having elected to bat, Horspath were restricted to 153-8 from their 50 overs, with Rhodri Lewis taking 3-15 to rip apart the visitor’s top order. Joe Priestley also finished with a brace of wickets, including that of opener Tom Coleman for 11 and Stephen Green, Horspath's top scorer with 35.

Chasing what looked an under-par total, Wargrave also stumbled, falling to 61-5 before staging a recover to win in the 44th over. Jack Winterbottom's 27 steadied any nerves and Kieran Lall's conservative 39 from 76 edged the hosts towards victory. John Child (20no) then hit the winning runs to maintain the club's fine start. They posted 155-8 in 43.4 overs. This Saturday they'll visit third placed Great Brickhill.

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