Top-of-the-table Oxford came away from Buckingham Town with victory this week, but only after surviving a major scare as the hosts were left to rue what might have been.
Put into bat, Oxford openers Shabaaz Alam and Vishane Perera found scoring hard, managing just 11 runs from 10 overs against the tight bowling of Josh Nix and Callum Price.
Perera took 16 from the 11th to get the scoreboard moving but Price took three wickets in four balls to reduce Oxford to 28-3, and in the next over, he removed Perera followed by Will Thompson snaffling John Barrett three overs later.
Harry Stephens and Shamilal Mendis counter attacked with a run-a-ball partnership of 25, but with lunch approaching, Town turned to spin and in his first over, Jack Parish removed Stephens caught and bowled for 18.
Mendis continued to score quickly while looking like he might give an opportunity, and that is what happened when he edged Price to slip just before the break only for the chance to be spilled, leaving Oxford 82-6 at the break.
Mendis continued to score after the interval, and he was supported by Andrew Clough as the pair took the score past 100. After an initial burst from the opening bowlers, Buckingham returned to spin and Parish quickly struck again when dismissing Mendis for 37.
Ben Stafford then clean bowled the next man with his second delivery to reduce the visitors to 113-8, however Clough (41) and Arthur Muir added 26 vital runs to take the score up to 144 all out.
Price took 5-34 from 16.1 overs while Parish had 3-19.
Buckingham openers Leigh Tomlinson and Steve Brunning again found scoring hard work against Samad Fallah and Freddie Simon. They added 13 in 11 overs when Fallah removed Tomlinson quickly followed by Ash Pearson.
Jonny Cater came in at four and looked to get the scoreboard moving, although he lost Brunning a couple of overs later to the bowling of Simon.
Adam King, making his first appearance of the season, joined Cater at 33-3. Fallah continued to bowl well and soon had a third wicket when he had Cater caught for 19.
In the lead up to tea, Harvey Eltham removed Simon Myatt, followed by Parish being clean bowled by Fallah to leave the hosts 55-6 with Price joining King after tea and Buckingham still 90 short of the target.
Together they began to eat into the required runs, King playing solidly while Price naturally scored at a quicker rate.
The pair put on 41 to bring victory within 50 when Price was bowled by Eltham for a top score of 29. Stafford (22) picked up where Price left off as he and King added a further 34 runs to bring the target down into the teens.
Oxford’s last throw of the dice was to bring Simon back into the attack, and in his second over, he bowled Stafford.
Fallah then trapped Nix lbw before, three balls later, he had King caught for 26 to snatch a 12-run win for Oxford.
King’s 26 came off 104 balls as he batted for nearly two and half hours while Fallah bowled 28 overs and claimed 6-61.
Buckingham are away to Gerrards Cross this weekend.