Leighton Buzzard’s Cherwell League Division 1 title aspirations took a killer blow on Saturday as they were undone by Thame Town’s Hassam Mushtaq.
A win for Leighton against the league leaders would have kicked open the door to the title race, but Mushtaq’s sensational 8-31 quickly ended any hopes of a three-way battle with four weeks remaining.
Tom Light was an early casualty (1) but Tom Callaghan (14) and Whatmore (23) seemed in little trouble as the score progressed if somewhat slowly to 49-1.
However the introduction of leading wicket taker Hassan Mushtaq into the home bowling attack then tore Leighton apart.
Spinning and turning the ball just like Shane Warne used to do he took 8 wickets for just 31 runs in 11 overs.
Dan Scott (19) Dave Roberts (10) and Sam Roberts (10) were the only players to reach double figures as Town were shot out for 99 runs in 39 overs.
In reply Sam Roberts took a wicket with his first ball and a marginal lbw decision went in favour of Jack Kempster as Gargs(13) made his way back to the pavilion.
When Lee Selfe took the prize wicket of Will Sutcliffe (8) Town seemed in with a chance but Mcphee (45no) and Thomas (24no) saw the home side to a comfortable victory at 103-3.
Leighton get three points and slip to fourth place in the division, now trailing Thame by 74.
Great Brickhill too lost ground on the leaders as they were surprisingly beaten by lowly Long Marston after a dramatic collapse.
Everything looked on course for victory for Brickhill too, especially after George Humphries’ Stuart Broad-esque performance as he too took eightfer and a catch.
His figures of 8-32 saw Long Marston skittled for just 117, with five ducks in the final six batsmen making life much easier for Brickhill.
But in incredible scenes, the visitors were back in the pavilion sooner than they’d have expected.
With wickets shared between Peter Toovey (5-25), Edward Robinson (2-24) and Alastair Bee (3-24), Brickhill found themselves up against the wall, and eventually reduced for just 91, picking up just five points for their efforts, falling 45 back of Thame, who they meet in two weeks time.
Meanwhile in Division 4, Leighton 2nds hit the bottom of the table after losing to Brackley by two wickets.
Town won the toss and decided to bat first. As has been the case this season a number of their players managed to spend time at the wicket and begin constructing a decent innings but have then failed to turn it into a big one.
Mark Burfoot (15), Chris Thompson (23), Scott Clark (16) James Raine (13) and Richard Raine (22) were the main contributors in a final total of just 141 runs.
This is seldom enough to win a match in this division.
Leighton came out fighting when the visitors began their reply. Andy Smith took 3 wickets, Yogesh Mistry 2 and Thompson 1 and at 87-6 hopes of a home victory were high.
Alan Priestley and Gareth Benger took further wickets for Town but some big hitting by Markham (25no) and Goodridge (22no) saw the visitors edge home by 2 wickets.
Leighton get 10 points for their efforts but with other results going against them on the day they now languish at the bottom of Division 4 with just four games remaining to save their season.
Meanwhile at the other end of the table, Great Brickhill 2nds look set for promotion to Division 3 as they hit top spot with a crushing victory over Chearsley.
Drew Burrows was undoubtedly the star of the show for the home side as he tore through the Chearsley order on his way to figures of 6-40.
The visitors were only sparred total embarrassment by Edward Holland, who scored an unbeaten 52 from number eight, helping his side to 105.
The response was swift and efficient as Brickhill were back in the pavilion after 14 overs.
Patrick Sreenivasaprasad opened the order with an undefeated 85 as he dominated the Chearsley bowling attack.
So much so in fact, when fellow opener Marcus Critchley was run out for 11, the score was already on 85.
Taking the full compliment of 25 points, Brickhill climb to the top of the table, pouncing on Tidington’s draw against Kimble.
Brickhill lead the division by eight points with four games to go.