CRICKET MATTERS Oxfordshire win Western Division

NCCA-Logo MasterSuffolk and Oxfordshire will meet in the final of the National Counties Championship at Tring Park on September 5-8 following a dramatic end to the last day of the regular season. 

Suffolk snatched the Eastern Division One title from the grasp of neighbours Norfolk after a record-breaking last wicket partnership between Adam Mansfield and Ben Claydon clinched an improbable one wicket win over Staffordshire at Copdock. 

When the pair came together, Suffolk were still 89 short of their target of 370 in 90 overs and, by that time, they knew that only a win would be enough to take above Norfolk who had beaten Cambridgeshire earlier in the day. 

But Claydon, who was unable to bat in the first innings due to injury, made a maiden Championship half century, Mansfield finished on 47 not out and Suffolk got home with seven balls to spare to reach the final for the first time since 2005. Suffolk finished two points ahead of Norfolk with Staffordshire 25 points further back in third. 

Oxfordshire topped Western Division One after they beat Dorset by seven wickets at Wimborne and ended Berkshire’s hopes of winning the Championship for a record fifth successive season. 
Oxfordshire overcame stubborn second innings resistance from Dorset’s Alex Eckland to take the Western Division One title. 

Eckland batted four hours for his 87 and was joined by Simon Woodruff in a seventh wicket stand of 65 which frustrated Oxfordshire. 

Off-spinner Max Mannering broke the resistance when he snared Eckland and Woodruff in successive overs on the way to his first five wicket haul in the Championship.  

Berkshire briefly went top after they had beaten Cheshire by 158 runs at Falkland but by that stage Oxfordshire were already well on course for victory. 

Oxfordshire were left with plenty of time to chase 114 and, after they had stuttered to 55 for three, Freddie Smith (23 not out) and George Tait (44 not out) saw them home in an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 62. 

Berkshire finished 14 points behind Oxfordshire, who inflicted a first defeat in seven years on them last week, with Cheshire further 12 points behind. 

Shropshire’s tail guided them to a three wickets win at Sidmouth over Devon who finished their Western Division Two campaign winless. 

Devon began the final day marginal favourites as they needed four wickets with their bowling attack refreshed and Shropshire still needed 58 for victory with all their frontline batsmen back in the pavilion. 

But Sam Ellis (21 not out), Ben Lees (25) and Worcestershire Academy seamer Mitchell Stanley (20 not out) shepherded Shropshire to their second successive win. 

Western Division Two champions Herefordshire had to settle for a draw against Cornwall at St Austell where a second innings half century from Scott Harvey denied them a fourth straight win. 

Harvey and James Turpin (41 not out) added 81 in an unbroken fifth wicket partnership as Cornwall closed on 191 for four having been set 307. 

National Counties Championship (Last day of 3)  

Eastern Division One 

Wisbech: Cambridgeshire 177 (Kieren Mackenzie 81 not out) & 240, Norfolk 285 (Ryan Findlay 82) & 133-6. Norfolk (23pts) beat Cambridgeshire (5pts) by four wickets.  

Copdock: Staffordshire 206-5 (Alex Mellor 130, Joe Gatting 5-38) & 316-8 dec (Michael Hill 62, Rob Hemmings 51), Suffolk 221-9 dec (Ben Shepperson 73, Alex Oxley 55) & 370-9 (Alex Oxley 121, Ben Claydon 51 not out). Suffolk (21pts) beat Staffordshire (6pts) by one wicket.   
Eastern Division Two  

Chesham: Northumberland 139 (Matthew Oswell 57) & 178 (Dale Shaw 91 not out), Buckinghamshire 235 (Matt Scott 6-54) & 85-0. Buckinghamshire (22pts) beat Northumberland (4pts) by ten wickets. 

Hertford: Hertfordshire v Cumbria. Abandoned. Hertfordshire (8pts), Cumbria (8pts)  

Western Division One  

Falkland CC (Newbury): Berkshire 190 (David Wainwright 6-38) & 252-9 dec (Euan Woods 122 not out, Dan Lincoln 57), Cheshire 92 (Euan Woods 5-17) & 192 (Will Evans 71). Berkshire (21pts) beat Cheshire (4pts) by 158 runs.  

Wimborne: Dorset 129 (Harry Fisher 50) & 219 (Alex Eckland 87, Max Mannering 5-58), Oxfordshire 235-8 (Marcus Campopiano 90, Callum Russell 65) & 117-3. Oxfordshire (22pts) beat Dorset (3pts) by seven wickets. 

Western Division Two  

St Austell: Herefordshire 236 (Matt Pardoe 85, Zain Ul Hassan 50) & 220-7 dec (Ben Chapman-Lilley 66), Cornwall 149 & 191-4 (Scott Harvey 56 not out). Cornwall (8pts) drew with Herefordshire (10pts). 

Sidmouth: Devon 148 (Graham Wagg 5-16) & 242 (Calum Haggett 109), Shropshire 178 (Graham Wagg 109) & 213-7. Shropshire (21pts) beat Devon (4pts) by three wickets.  


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