Marlow's hopes of reeling in leaders Henley quashed despite thrilling run chase

Marlow captain Sergio Feede

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Marlow’s hopes of reeling in leaders Henley 2nds for the Division 2A title were quashed in a thrilling head-to-head which saw the hosts come out on top by just 11 runs.

Trailing the leaders by 23 points coming into the game it looked a tall order anyway, but victory for Sergio Feede’s side would have at least taken the title race to the final weekend of the season where Henley visit Hayes and Marlow host Kew.

However, there’ll be no jeopardy on the final day as Henley wrapped up the title, and with it promotion to Division 1, in thrilling style.

The hosts opted to bat on winning the toss and, in Euan Brock they had the game’s match-winner. He pushed and pulled Marlow’s bowling attack to all corners of the ground en route to an unbeaten 134 as Henley finished their 50 overs on 283-5. There were also valuable additions from Nathan Hopkins (32) and Oliver Buckle (49).

With nothing to lose Marlow gave the run chase a go and they came within 11 runs of a remarkable victory. Imran Nawaz (71) led the way with Will Bovill (28), Dominic Spencer (58) and Feede (44) also acquitting themselves well as these two sides showed why they’ve been head and shoulders above everyone else the best two teams in the division. In the end Marlow simply couldn’t keep up with the runrate, finishing their 50 overs on 272-9.

Elsewhere in the Division, Maidenhead & Bray are still in grave relegation danger after their 10-run defeat to Chesham 2nds on Saturday.

Chasing 205 all out, Maidenhead & Bray finished up just short, despite the best efforts of Wayne Whitson (31) and Alkesh Vaja (34no) to get them to within touching distance of victory.

Charlie Haines top scored for the hosts with 51, with Joe Masih (4-38) doing his best to restrict their progress.

Maidenhead & Bray are just two points ahead of second bottom Datchet 2nds, and the two sides will play off in a thrilling final day relegation play-off on Saturday.

Eversley have wrapped up the other promotion place from Division 2B. They lead second placed Reading by 23 points going into the final weekend.

The title race in Division 3A is delicately poised heading into the final weekend, with leaders Royal Ascot holding a 12-point lead over closest challengers Windsor.

Both sides kept up their recent form on Saturday, with Ascot thrashing White Waltham by 10 wickets and Windsor edging out bottom club Finchampstead 3rds by two wickets to maintain their title interest going into the final day.

Windsor finish off their season at home to White Waltham while Ascot host Aldershot, with both matches looking fairly winnable on paper.

Third placed Sulhamstead & Ufton won’t now be able to bridge the gap, despite their four-wicket win over Sonning this weekend.

Having been asked to bat White Waltham managed just 120 runs before being dismissed in the 34th over. Andrew Murray (3-35) and Harry Watson (4-23) were Ascot’s chief wicket takers in a dominant display in the field, and Zain Ahmed Malik (58no) and Michael Breet (60no) needed little encouragement to chase down Waltham’s total in just 25.4 overs.

Windsor had a trickier afternoon away to Finchampstead but managed to chase down their total of 198-5 keeping two wickets in hand.

Elsewhere Taplow escaped relegation danger with a much-needed one-wicket victory over Aldershot.

Wraysbury defeated OMT by 56 runs on Saturday to all but wrap up the Division 3B title and promotion to the second tier of Thames Valley cricket.

Mathematically second placed NPL and Farnham Royal – who defeated Harefield and Stoke Green 2nds respectively – could still overhaul them, but with 16 and 17 points to make up it looks too much for either of them.

Daniel Ward was in excellent form with the bat for the champions elect, making 108 as Wraysbury made 293-7 from their 45 overs. Andy Prasad (74) and Waqas Khan (27) also acquitted themselves well at the crease.

Hikmatullah Kakar then took 6-59 as OMT were bowled out for 237 in 40 overs.

Farnham Common celebrated their Division 5A title win with a comprehensive 102-run victory over Burnham 3rds, with Wooburn Narkovians now locked in a battle with Hayes 2nds to finish runners-up. Third placed Wooburn defeated Ickenham 3rds by 19 runs on Saturday and trail Hayes by just six points heading into the final weekend of the season.

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