Buckingham Town claimed an excellent seven-wicket victory at home to Gerrards Cross on Saturday to leave them needing just one point at already relegated Dinton in the final week to secure their place in Home Counties Division Two for a second consecutive season, something no previous Buckingham side has achieved.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Gerrards Cross lost Alex Woodland to the bowling of Simon Myatt in the fifth over to bring Daniel Hampton and James Crosthwaite together.
After a steady start, the new pair began to score more freely against the Buckingham seamers, maintaining a steady run-rate of over five-an-over.
Both Crosthwaite (52 balls) and Hampton (72 balls) went past 50 in a partnership of 173 which set the visitors up for a big score, but three balls before the batting powerplay, Callum Price managed to find the breakthrough though for Buckingham as he trapped Crosthwaite lbw for 65, and followed that up with the wicket of Hampton for 94 in his next over.
Jack Parish then bowled skipper Matt Watson for 14 to leave the score 208-4 after 40 overs and wickets continued to fall regularly throughout the last 10 overs, with Sam Westaway (18no) the only one to offer any resistance and the innings closed on 252-9 as Buckingham fought back brilliantly, taking eight wickets for just 72 runs in the final 16 overs.
Price was the pick of the bowlers with 4-32 while Myatt (3-55) and Parish (2-44) also chipped in.
In reply, Gerrards Cross lost opening bowler Jamie Hoddle to injury after only 2.2 overs, but his replacement Woodland got an early breakthrough as he bowled Ash Pearson for 13.
That was the only early wicket for the visitors, however, as Steve Brunning (79 balls) and Leigh Tomlinson (71 balls) both passed 50 in a match-winning second-wicket stand of 119.
They scored steadily and never allowed the required rate to increase too high for a Buckingham side hosting a deep batting line up.
Similarly to the first innings, the breakthrough came at the time of the powerplay as Hampton returned to remove Tomlinson for 54, and with just 20 runs scored in the next five overs, Buckingham needed 80 runs from the last 10 overs.
Brunning was out stumped in the next over off Elliot Green for 89 which brought Rob Large to the crease with skipper Jonny Cater.
After taking a few balls to get in, Large attacked the bowling and quickly brought the run chase back under control as he scored an unbeaten 38 from 28 balls.
At the other end, Cater scored in ones and twos before he took 17 from the 48th over to finish unbeaten on 42 from 36 balls and seal the seven-wicket victory.
Buckingham travel to bottom side Dinton this weekend knowing that a single point would be enough to ensure their survival.