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Holders Berkshire crash out of Unicorns T20 competition after defeats to Oxfordshire

Dan Lincoln

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Holders Berkshire crashed out of the Unicorns Twenty20 competition after losing twice to Oxfordshire at Banbury Twenty CC last Sunday.

In the opening match, they had their hosts struggling at 10-2 before Shabaaz Alam with 48, Jordan Garrett (38), skipper Jon Cater (44) and Tom Condon (21) saw Oxon move to a respectable total of 165-6.

Of the seven bowlers used by Berkshire, Ali Raja was the most successful with 2-23 off four overs.

Berkshire's reply was largely dominated by Dan Lincoln, who smashed 81 off 51 balls, with 21 runs coming in one over. His thoroughly entertaining 52-minute innings included three sixes and 10 fours.

Next highest was Tom Scriven, who hit 30 and featured in a third-wicket stand of 84 in eight overs with Lincoln.

Both were dismissed in quick succession and despite the best efforts of captain James Morris (14no) Berkshire fell just four runs short, finishing on 161-5.

In the second game, the visitors batted first and this time it was Scriven who took centre stage, blasting 75 off 49 balls in just 49 minutes. Richard Morris weighed in with 31 off 21 balls as Berkshire posted 156-8. Lincoln made only three before being bowled by paceman Gareth Andrew, who finished with excellent figures of 3-18 from his four overs.

Oxon got off to a flying start, taking 17 runs off the opening over bowled by Toby Greatwood.

Fellow seamer Andy Rishton also came in for some punishment, conceding 40 runs in four overs, but he bowled Alam for 29 to end an opening partnership of 57 in just four and a half overs and three balls later Rishton deflected a return ball from Will Sutcliffe onto the stumps to run out Tom Cosford for one. It wasn't Cosford's day as he had earlier been run out in the first match by Euan Woods without facing a ball.

Sutcliffe occupied the crease for the whole 20 overs to finish on 65, while 24 from Jordan Garrett, who was caught by Rishton off the bowling of Luke Beaven, and an unbeaten 22 from Cater saw Oxon reach their target with an over to spare at 158-3.

So it was a rare disappointing day for Berkshire, who finish their Twenty20 fixtures against Herefordshire at Falkland CC this coming Sunday, at 11am and 2.30pm.

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Berkshire Women made a good start to their Twenty20 programme with wins over Cornwall and Dorset at North Maidenhead CC last Sunday.

They restricted Cornwall to 92-8, of which Rebecca Odgers made 47 off 45 balls, with Phoebe Graham, Lissy MacLeod, Emily Cunningham each claiming two wickets.

Skipper MacLeod then made a run-a-ball 42 with Mille Atherton hitting 18 and Amanda Potgieter 10 not out as Berkshire sealed a five-wicket victory at 96-5 with seven balls to spare.

Their second game saw Dorset score 92-3 (Zara Brown 36no) with the wickets falling to MacLeod, Cunningham and Sophie Day.

Following an interruption for rain, Berkshire reached their revised target of 86 for the loss of just one wicket with Cunningham making 36 and Day 28, the remaining runs coming from extras.

Berkshire play the return fixture with Cornwall this coming Sunday at Grampound Road, Truro, where they will also be facing Oxfordshire.

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