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Horspath overpowered at Oxon T20 Finals

19 Sep 2022

HORSPATH'S bid for Hartwell Senior Cup glory disappeared in a clatter of wickets as the side crashed to a 94-run defeat against Banbury on Oxfordshire T20 Finals Day at Wormsley.
The club went into the game as underdogs against a Banbury side who had won the competition formerly known as the Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup in six of the last seven years.
Indeed their dominance since 2015 had only been broken by Horspath, who triumphed against Oxford Downs in a thrilling decider four years ago.
Banbury, who reached the last four in the national Vitality Club T20 Cup this season before losing to eventual champions Hornchurch, were in no mood to see their run of success interrupted again.
The holders rattled up a formidable 179-5 after electing to bat at the picturesque Sir Paul Getty's Ground before producing a clinical display with the ball as Horspath subsided to 85 all out.
As the peace and tranquility of the Chiltern Hills was disturbed by flamethrowers and music to accompany boundaries and wickets, Joe White and Richard Simpson got Banbury off to a flying start.
With a crowd of more than 300 looking on, they smashed 56 off the first five overs before Max Smith was introduced to the attack and briefly stopped the run spree with a maiden.
While Horspath dropped chances, the Banbury openers took the score to 72 before Simpson skied a return catch to leg-spinner Josh Richardson after making 28 from 24 balls.
White was then run out for 43 off 30 deliveries by the quick thinking of Amin Rafiq. From the bowler's end, he relayed Smith's throw from the boundary to wicketkeeper Will Hawtin who broke the stumps with the Banbury batsman short of his ground as he went for two, making it 76-2.
There was to be no let-up for the Horspath bowlers, though, as Olly Clarke and Ali Short shared a punishing stand of 76 for the third wicket off 7.1 overs.
Short was the busier of the pair employing a full range of strokes, including a six over long on and a reverse sweep for four, before he was caught at mid-wicket by acting skipper Lloyd Belcher off Smith for 45 from 28 balls to leave Banbury 152-3.
Clarke had made a stylish 39 off 34 deliveries when he was bowled by Smith, who finished with fine figures of 2-17 from his four overs, while Belcher's superb throw from the mid-wicket boundary saw Charlie Hill run out off the penultimate ball off the innings.
Captain Lloyd Sabin, the top scorer in the Home Counties Premier League this season with 788 runs, even had the luxury of batting himself at No 7, coming to the crease at the non-striker's end for the final delivery.
Banbury's total was two runs more than they posted 12 months ago in their 37-run victory over Aston Rowant and was always going to present a stiff challenge.

Horspath were soon in trouble at 24-3 with Ollie Wright picking up a couple of wickets after Dave Eaton made the breakthrough.
As a lone red kite circled over the ground, the omens were not good. Hawtin ignited some life into the innings with a run-a-ball 24 before he was caught by Clarke on the boundary off Hill to make it 58-4.
It sparked an almighty collapse with five wickets going down for eight runs, including that of opener Smith for 17.
As Christopher Hofen came out to bat, the Mission Impossible theme tune blasted out across the ground, but this was one tricky situation that even Tom Cruise's secret agent Ethan Hunt would have done well to get out of.
Horspath were in disarray at 66-8 and the end was quick in coming. Teenager Charlie Haselgrove took 4-14 off three overs, including accepting an excellent low caught and bowled opportunity, with his haul seeing him named man of the match.
Charlie Turner was unbeaten on 15 as Horspath were all out off 17 overs, with Eaton taking 2-7 and Wright 2-14, to leave Banbury deserved winners.

The game was preceded by both teams lining up for a minute's silence in memory of Her Majesty The Queen before the national anthem was played.