Leighton Buzzard were relegated from Cherwell League Division 2 on Saturday as they finished bottom of the pile, losing to Challow & Childrey 2nds by four wickets.
Leighton picked up just three wins all season, and finished two points behind Minster Lovell at the close, meaning they will play third division cricket next season.
Knowing they would need to win and have other results go their way to avoid the drop on the final day of the season, Leighton promoted wicketkeeper Ella Claridge to become the first female player to play in their first XI.
Batting first though, Leighton stumbled through. Though Phil Whatmore hit 66 at three, making him the all-time leading Cherwell League runs scorer with 9294, but there were precious few knocks to write home about. It meant Leighton were all out for 181, as Challow’s Mike Konschel took 4-23, and Ross Packham 3-46.
Leighton made a solid start with the ball, knocking out Joe Harris at 18-1, and then Luke Stevens at 47-2.
But Ryan Kent would lead the rescue act for the visitors, firing an unbeaten 69 to get them back in contention.
Despite Antony Francis ‘ 3-40, it was left to Gordon and Matthew Frost (14 not out) to hit the winning runs, reaching 184-6, sending Leighton down in the process.
Tom Light was the leading runs scorer for Leighton this season, scoring 545 with a top scorer of 97.
Francis finished as the team’s leading wicket taker, taking 36 with an average of 13.28.
Leighton Buzzard 2nds also suffered relegation, and will be playing in Division 6 as they too finished bottom of the table.
A dismal start to the innings against Dinton 2nds on Saturday, Leighton were three wickets down for two runs, continuing poorly as they were 36-5.
Jack Cowley’s 64 was the only highlight as Leighton recovered somewhat to 161.
But Daniel Ripley (61) and Grant Farrow (51) saw Dinton to 164-5, with Andy Smith (3-34) the pick of the bowlers on the day, and over the course of the season, taking 28 at an average of 20.89.