HOLDERS Banbury stayed on course to retain the Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup with a convincing seven-wicket win at home to Horspath in the semi-finals.

The defending champions set up a repeat of last year’s T20 final against Oxford Downs, who triumphed by 18 runs against Oxford in the other last-four clash.

Horspath were in trouble at 10-2 after electing to bat at White Post Road.

Harrison Ward made a fluent 32 off 26 balls to lead Horspath’s revival, only to fall lbw attempting to reverse sweep a delivery from left-arm spinner Joe Thomas, who kept the visitors in check with 3-15.

Stephen Green chipped in with 26, but with Oli Wright taking 2-25, Horspath’s 116-7 looked below-par.

Banbury always had the run chase under control with opener Olly Clarke (37no) pacing his innings well to steer the hosts home at 119-3 with ten balls to spare.

Skipper Lloyd Sabin made 33 off 31 balls, while 15-year-old seamer Charlie Turner impressed for Horspath with 2-20 from his four overs.

Downs recovered from losing both their openers without scoring to post 133-6 from 18 overs.

George Sandbach (44) and Curtly Slatter (20) led the fightback by putting on 71 for the third wicket.

Matt Warner (25) and Frankie Crouch hit sixes late in the innings to help post a competitive total.

Oxford’s reply was built around George Tait’s half century.

His 50 came from 35 balls, putting on 69 for the fifth wicket with Elliot Mathews (27).

But after Tait fell to Warner (3-18), Downs closed out victory.