Banbury Win in ECB National Club Championship

A youthful Banbury side put in a thoroughly professional performance at Harborne on Sunday to claim an 8 wicket victory in Round 1 of the National Knockout. Olly Murray and Olly Wright stared with the ball, taking 4 wickets each while Ian Tew and Ed Phillips made 59 not out and 58 not out respectively to see Banbury home.

Once again Banbury were forced to travel with a depleted side as the fixture clashed with Oxfordshire’s Minor Counties Knockout clash with Bedfordshire. In that fixture, Banbury players Ian Hawtin, Nathan Hawks, Luke Ryan and Ashley Blanchard helped Oxon to a 110 run win. Banbury were also without Lloyd Sabin (Middlesex), Craig Haupt, Shahbaz Ali (both work), Richard West, Ed Smith (both University) and Damian Shirazi (Family commitments).

The resulting side, whose average age was 23, put in a slick and assured performance doing much to enhance the hands of those youngsters pushing for regular first team action.

On winning the toss Harborne made a slow but assured start to their innings during tidy spells from left armers Richard Brooks and Liam Manley. However the game changed with the introduction of the oldest member of the side, 31 year old Olly Murray. Murray broke the 50 run opening stand and went on to bowl 9 tidy overs up the slope in which he claimed 4 wickets for just 25 runs.

Murray’s spell, along with some enthusiastic work from 16 year old keeper Josh Smith, was the catalyst for a good period for Banbury during which runs were kept to a minimum and fielding was crisp and effective.

Harborne were now behind the 8 ball, but on a small ground with a flat wicket any total was still possible. However 19 year old Olly Wright (4-45) bowled well during the last 15 overs and he, with support from Jimmy Phillips (2-41), kept Harborne to 187 as the last wicket fell with 6 balls remaining of the allotted 45 overs. The former Horley man’s performance completed a fantastic first weekend of competitive action for his new club after claiming 6 wickets for the 2nds on Saturday.

Banbury’s reply got off to the worst possible start as they lost Chris Smith to the 2nd ball of the innings. However their most experienced batsman, Ian Tew, played a mature anchor role as he accumulated 59 not out in the successful run chase. Tew’s weighty contribution allowed Josh Smith (31) and Ed Phillips (58 not out) to provide impetus and acceleration from the other end as Banbury cruised home with 8 overs to spare.

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