Home Counties round-up: Three teams in contention after Slough slip up

Three teams can still mathematically finish in the Home Counties Division 2 promotion places, with Slough’s lead at the top cut to just 11 points after Saturday’s surprise seven-wicket defeat to relegation-threatened Wargrave.

Slough’s form earlier in the season has given them two bites at the title cherry, however, and they’ll look to close the deal in their final game at Amersham on Saturday. However, this was far from a self-assured performance at home to Wargrave, who remain in real danger of being demoted back into the Thames Valley League. Victory would have all but cemented their place back in Division 1, but defeat has left with a three-way battle with Wokingham and Oxford Downs for the title, as well as promotion.

Nadeem Syed’s side remain in pole position, but they’ll have to play much better than they did on Saturday to end the season with silverware. For once this season, Slough’s top order simply failed to fire as they collapsed to 10-3. However, Kamran Younas (54) and Shelvin Gumbs (65) salvaged the innings and carried them on to a defendable 216 all out. Wargrave shared the wickets around, but Mandip Sohi took 3-19 while Rhodri and Rhys Lewis each took two-wickets apiece.

Slough were then put to the sword by the excellent batting of Rhodri Lewis who made 127 as Wargrave chased down their hosts’ total for the loss of three wickets in the 39th over.

Burnham’s sorry season continued with a four-wicket defeat to promotion challengers Oxford Downs. Rizwan Nadeem’s side, who’ve already been relegated back into the Thames Valley League, were bowled out for just 100 runs in less than 28 overs after opting to bat. Downs made slightly heavy weather of the chase, dropping six wickets on their way to a four-wicket victory. Farhaan Khan finished with Burnham’s best batting figures of 27 not out, but the majority couldn’t handle Lawrence Brock, who took 6-21. Farhaan Khan took 3-46 as the visitors tried to make a game of it, but their total was simply too small to defend and George Sandbach (40no) fired Oxford to victory in the 26th over.

Datchet will be looking to finish the Division 1 season with a flourish after Saturday’s 14-run victory over Finchampstead.

Joe Barrett’s side were in title contention for much of the season, but their challenge faded in the second half of the campaign, and they’ll go into the final match at Tring Park looking to hold onto fourth place.

Saturday’s display will have given the captain encouragement. Batting first they managed 284-9 from their 50 overs with Jonty Jenner top scoring with 64 to add to a fine opening stand of 114 between Barrett (57) and Billy Mead (52).

Ben Brookes also scored 44 to keep the scoreboard ticking along further down the order as the visitors repelled the best efforts of Madhawa Fernando (3-48) and James Woodford (3-49).

Finchampstead made a decent fist of their run chase to make it to within 14 runs, but Steven Naylor (4-49) and teammates managed to slow their run-rate sufficiently to claim victory. Guy Ashby’s (47) partnership with Lewis Sharp (44) gave Finchampstead real hope but when that stand was broken by Jenner (1-26) the hosts’ challenge ran out of steam.

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