CRICKET: Downs frustrated by gritty visitors

Oxford Downs’ James France smashes one to the boundary on his way to 70 in their home draw against Tiddington in Division 1 on Saturday

Oxford Downs’ James France smashes one to the boundary on his way to 70 in their home draw against Tiddington in Division 1 on Saturday

First published in Sport

A fine 70 from Oxford Downs’ James France was not enough to force a home win as Tiddington held on for a draw in Cherwell League Division 1 on Saturday.

It means that they are now 17 points adrift of third-bottom Cumnor.

Tiddington had picked up their first win seven days previously, but never looked like chasing down the visitors’ 191 all out and so allowed their opponents to leapfrog them in the table.

Downs have made an even worse start to the season, losing all four of the matches that had survived the weather.

Put into bat on Saturday, the loss of four early wickets left them in trouble until opener France was joined by Amin Rafiq (32).

By the time Matt Johnston (4-55) swept through the Downs tail, they had put together what was to prove an unassailable total.

Four of Tiddington’s top five managed only seven runs between them as Downs’ reply got off to a disastrous start, and it was left to veteran Jon Talbot (40) to salvage a draw.

Cumnor’s first win has left both these sides too far behind the pack for comfort with the season almost halfway through, and they need to start winning before it is too late.

Tiddington 7pts, Oxford Downs 18

Dan Swindells took 7-20 as Witney Mills handed out an eight-wicket hammering to Leighton Buzzard Town 2nd in Division 4.

The visitors were skittled for only 83, and were then powerless to stop Mills making 87-2, Swindells top scoring with 37 not out.
Witney Mills 25pts, L Buzzard 2

Sandford St Martin squeezed past local rivals Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd by the narrowest of margins to stay top of Division 3.

Jim Howe took 5-29 as home side Shipton perished for 161, former Cheltenham Town defender Shane Duff leading the way with 70.

Tom Goffe (35) helped keep Sandford up with the required rate, but wickets kept falling to Chris Panter (3-39) and Valentin Guiraud (3-72) and they only just made it to 164-9, triumphing by one wicket.
Shipton-under-Wychwood 2nd 12, Sandford St Martin 25

Oxford Downs 2nd lost by nine wickets against Didcot.
The hosts were downed for 154 with Jay Morrison taking 6-10, as only Nick Rivett (57) and Graeme Coates (38) hung around for long.

Henry Brisland (71no) and Simon Pritchard (60) then steered the visitors to 155-1 in only 30.3 overs.
Oxford Downs 2nd 3, Didcot 25

Kevin Taylor collected 6-41 and Joe Thomas took 3-30 as Great & Little Tew 2nd dismissed Ban-bury 3rd for 176 in Division 6.

Ed Smith (56) and Ally Jarvis (40) supplied most of the visitors’ runs.
Tew then cruised to a seven wicket win, with Jack Haggett (94) caught on the boundary trying to bring up his ton, while Robbie Catling was 60 not out.
Great & Little Tew 2nd 25, Banbury 3rd 6

Jack Belmont starred with bat and ball as Great & Little Tew 3rd won by three wickets at leaders Aston Rowant 3rd.
Belmont (3-14) and Piers Myatt (3-55) saw the hosts to 152 all out.
Tew reached 153-7, with Belmont unbeaten on 54. Leigh Lewis captured 4-44.
Aston Rowant 3rd 9, Gt & L Tew 3rd  25

Matt Thompson took 4-41 as Sandford St Martin 2nd beat Cropredy 2nd by 28 runs in Division 7.
The hosts were dismissed for 152, with Charlie Beeson making 64. Han van Reen took 6-20.
But an upset was avoided as Thompson’s haul saw the visitors  knocked over for 124.
Sandford 2nd 25, Cropredy 2nd 6

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