Buckingham stay top after final ball thriller

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Cherwell League Division One leaders Buckingham Town scrambled a single off the final ball of the match to earn a dramatic tie with Oxford IIs.

Chasing 168 to win, Buckingham looked on the verge of defeat at 152-9 but a desperate effort by the final two batsmen, Lester Smart and Jason Ell, saw Town snatch a tie to keep themselves top.

Second-placed Oxford IIs won the toss and chose to bat.

Brad Sutherland (28) made a positive start to the innings, putting on 40 with Hall for the first wicket before Smart and Wayne Platts took four wickets between them for nine runs to reduce the hosts to 49-4.

Adam Price came in at number 6 and scored fluently, putting on 43 with Khan and 37 with Phillip Evans as Oxford past 100 before Price brought up his 50 from 53 balls but he added only one more as he was trapped LBW by Ben Stafford.

Evans batted with the tail before he was last out as Oxford were all out for 167. Platts took 3-40 and Stafford 3-33.

Ash Pearson (17) and Callum Price (22) started strongly against the Oxford seamers, putting on 50 in 11 overs.

However, once their partnership was broken, the Town innings faltered with regular wickets falling as the visitors crashed to 96-6 from 32 overs.

Steve Brunning (37) attempted to hold the innings together, putting on 33 with Wayne Platts, before he became the seventh wicket to fall with the score on 129, leaving Buckingham needing 39 runs from seven overs.

Platts (12) and James Gear (12) edged the visitors closer but it was left to Smart (16 not out from 12 balls) and Ell (4 not out) to score a single off the final ball of the innings to finish on 167-9 and level the scores. Adam Price starred with the ball, picking up 5-44, and Andrew Clough took 4-49.

Buckingham host Banbury IIs this Saturday.