HORSPATH produced a stirring fightback to secure a 31-run victory over Peppard Stoke Row in the Voneus Village Cup fifth round, writes Russell Smith.

The Oxfordshire area winners were in trouble at 52-5 following a superb opening spell of 4-16 from seamer Scott Harris.

But excellent half-centuries from skipper Will Eason (52) and Tyron Eyles (58) saw Horspath recover to post a challenging 223-8.

Horspath’s bowlers were supported by some brilliant catching, including a wonder effort by Jimmy Phillips, and then combined to dismiss Peppard for 192 despite Harris hammering 53 and opener Jason Vaughan-Davies making 49.

Horspath now take the next step on the road to Lord’s with a repeat of the last 16 tie of 12 months ago, against Devon & Cornwall champions Grampound Road, but this time at home on July 7.

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Peppard enjoyed a dream start after choosing to bowl when Harris, getting good movement in overcast conditions, struck with the first ball, before claiming three more victims.

Elliot Ruff and Eason set about repairing the damage. They moved the score on to 95 when Ruff (28) top-edged a sweep off spinner Ashley Hayden to short fine leg where Vaughan-Davies dived to take a stunning right-handed catch inches above the ground.

As the sun broke through, Eason, mixing late cuts with powerful cover drives in a 65-ball knock which included eight boundaries, and Eyles, who plundered the leg side with seven fours and two sixes in his 46-ball stay, continued Horspath’s revival with 73 for the seventh wicket. It was left to Amin Rafiq (18no) to ensure the innings finished with a flourish.

Peppard came out with all guns blazing at the start of their innings, but were pegged back to 54-4 with Eason taking 2-27.

Vaughan-Davies, with some lusty leg side blows, and Harris, got the visitors back on track. The Peppard opener was one short of a half-century when he fell to Josh Richardson with Asad Rafiq running in from long off to take a good low catch and make it 102-5.

However, Harris continued to score freely with Dan Watts and the game was in the balance as the pair put on 58 for the sixth wicket to take Peppard to 160 in the 33rd over.

Harris had just completed a fine half-century when Phillips produced a match-changing moment with a sensational catch on the long off boundary.

The Peppard all-rounder looked to have cleared the rope when he drove down the ground off Hussaan Ahmad, who had come on to bowl after swapping the wicketkeeper’s gloves with Stephen Green, but Phillips dived full length and stuck out his right hand to clutch the ball in mid-air.

Three runs later, Watts fell to Richardson (2-34) for 24 with Joval Calix accepting the chance at long on. Horspath were sensing victory and Ahmad (3-15) added to his tally with Calix taking two more catches at mid-wicket.

Amin Rafiq (2-38) sealed victory in the last over when Richard Ashton skied the penultimate delivery and Green ran from behind the stumps to take the catch.