Leighton Buzzard missed out on the chance to escape the Cherwell League Division 2 relegation zone after losing to fellow battlers Horspath by 33 runs on Saturday.
The sides started the day separated by three points, but Horspath’s win sees them open up a 23-point lead, with Leighton now 14 points from safety, chasing Challow and Childrey.
Horspath, batting first, were putting themselves in a strong position early on, with openers Tom Beresford and Jamie Stead putting on 66 for the opening partnership.
But when Stead fell for 40, it was the first of a remarkable six wickets for Antony Francis. The Leighton bowler took care of Beresford for 43, and put the home side in a decent position as Horspath went from 93-1 to 110-5.
Alex Thomas was holding up one end for the visitors, but he finally fell, also to Francis as they eventually were all out for 175.
Francis’ figures read 17 overs, two maidens, 6-45 and he was the stand-out.
Leighton’s batting performance though would come up disappointingly short of the mark.
Jamil Faruk and Josh Richardson were both amongst the wickets for Horspath, taking four wickets apiece as Leighton slumped to 147 all out.
Mark Burfoot was the only real performer with the bat for Leighton, holding up one end with 47 but when he fell at 113-6, the writing was on the wall for the home side.
Next Saturday, Leighton travel to near-by Wolverton Town, who sit sixth in the table after losing to Bledlow Village at the weekend.
In Division 5, Leighton Buzzard 2nds made vital gains in their push for survival against the drop after a three wicket win over Dinton 2nds.
Alan Priestly’s 5-36 helped reduce the home side to Cropredy 2nds for just 95.
Wayne Tyas then hit 50 in reply, but Leighton were left with a nervy finale as they lost seven wickets en route to 98-7 and victory.
The result sees them remain rock bottom of the table, but they are now within touching distance of safety, 20 points adrift of Challow and Childrey 2nds in eighth.