BANBURY GUARDIAN: CRAIG HAUPT’S superb unbeaten 121 steered Banbury to a convincing seven-wicket win over Finchampstead on Saturday.

Haupt stepped down from the club captaincy before the start of the season to concentrate on his batting. So far, it looks to be a good decision.

Haupt had to be patient for the first half of his innings, as he backed up new captain Richard Kaufman (58) who was in fluent form at the other end.

Once the skipper departed, Haupt seemed to revel in the responsibility and scattered the Finchampstead attack all around the White Post Road ground.

After restricting the visitors to 235-8 off 66 overs, Banbury’s openers struggled and both Chris Smith (1) and Mark Rorich (5) were back in the pavilion with the score on 16.

Haupt was joined in the middle by Kaufman and together the past and present captains produced a valuable 70-run third wicket partnership that seemed to give the whole innings impetus.

Kaufman led from the front and was not afraid to take the attack to the Finchampstead bowlers, playing some classy shots in his 58 from 51 balls.

The dependable Steve Beck (39no) played a sensible and steady innings as Haupt powerfully helped Banbury reach their intended target with seven overs to spare.

Kaufman said: “Craig was superb. His celebration at the end showed what it meant to him. He showed great maturity out there.

“He was struggling early on and he said he was not feeling right and a bit tired. He then got his eye in and there was no stopping him.”

The spin duo of Jimmy Phillips (3-91 off 24 overs) and Paul Hill (2-64 off 21 overs) played a huge part in restricting the visitors, who were 124-2 at lunch, to a gettable 235-8.

The two off-spinners got through 45 of the 66 overs bowled and between them claimed five of the six wickets to fall after lunch.

“They dried up the runs,” said Kaufman. “And when that happens, wickets can come. “Perhaps last season, at the same stage in the game, we could so easily have conceded 320. I felt anything under 250 would be a good target.”

After in-different bowling spells from Paul Taylor and Callum Taylor, it was part-time seamer Mark Rorich who made the breakthrough, dismissing Finchampstead’s opening batsman Seymour for 25.

Despite constantly losing partners, skipper Steve Brogan kept the Finchampstead innings together with an impressive unbeaten 80.

Simon Launder, who finished with figures of 1-16, is out for two weeks after requiring stitches in his knee sustained in a freak football accident.

Ollie Murrey, who claimed 6-43 for the second team last Saturday, has been called up to replace Launder for Saturdays league trip to Reading and Sunday’s away ECB National Club Championship tie at Coventry & North Warks.

“Ollie could well take the new ball, but Jimmy and Paul will once again be the key to our bowling attack,” said Kaufman.

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