Horwood boost promotion hopes but Bicester defeated

Great Horwood 1st XI got their promotion campaign back on track with a six-wicket victory against rivals Faringdon at Nash Road.

With the visitors batting first on a good track, Horwood struggled to make the early inroads needed and Faringdon quickly established a strong platform of 113-2 after 20 overs.

But Nick Giles, who had played well for his 57, then holed out off Neil Wilkins’ bowling to spark a spectacular collapse.

Wilkins did the damage with some top class left-arm swing bowling as his next five overs saw him take six wickets for three runs to finish with 7-35.

Faringdon were now in disarray and it took the tail to wag to enable them to reach a below-par score of 163 all out.

In reply, Horwood skipper Stuart Parker was keen to ensure his team made a swift start, but the loss of Matthew McStraw for a duck stunted their progress.

The in-form Neil Taylor steadied the ship alongside Parker (22), and by the time Parker was out LBW, Horwood had built a solid foundation.

Taylor was then joined by youngster Dale Armitage, who has been in impressive form this season, and runs began to flow as the home side consolidated their grip on the game.

When Taylor was out for a priceless 44, the stage was set for Josh Nix, who helped Horwood speed towards the victory target with an unbeaten 47 while Armitage finished on 43, taking his total runs for the season to over the 400 mark.

Horwood, who leapfrogged Faringdon into second courtesy of that win, travel to play Tetsworth this weekend.

As for the IIs, it was a familiar story as another depleted XI were thrashed by West Witney in Division Five.

Batting first, the home side amassed an opening partnership of 278, with Greg Inge (162) and Patrick Smith (103) hitting a depleted visiting attack all over the ground as Witney set Horwood a mammoth target of 357. Peter McHenry and Jon Davey were the sole wicket takers.

In reply, McHenry (26) and James Waddington (36) batted well, but Horwood succumbed to 119 all out and a 238-run defeat.

This Saturday sees the IIs entertain fellow strugglers Kennington.

Meanwhile, Bicester & North Oxford 1st XI remain seventh in Cherwell League Division Three despite a four-wicket loss to leaders Long Marston.

Richard Simpson (pictured) and Matt Collins got Bicester off to a strong start before Dan Murphy’s 66 was the key contribution to Bicester’s 184 all out. Graham Savin also chipped in with 32.

Bicester made a dream start in reply as Ali (2-67) removed James Cockbain first ball of the innings but Steven Moss (48), Mark Green (41) and Matt Storey (37no) ensured the leaders would stay top. Simpson took 2-41.

Action shots of both matches are above