Four Counties: Titles and relegations decided

Daniel Ramsell (MK) takes the wicket of James Flecknell (Eaton Bray)
Daniel Ramsell (MK) takes the wicket of James Flecknell (Eaton Bray)

North Crawley’s victory over Cranfield sealed their third Division One title in a row, but there was a still a lot to play for in the rest of the Four Counties leagues.

Second place side Milton Keynes knew they needed Crawley to drop points if they wanted to snatch the title late on, but kept up their end of the bargain by beating Eaton Bray by two wickets.

Wes Hosking hit 86 not out for Bray as they declared on 229-6, predicting rain could force short their match.

But it wasn’t to be enough, as 90 from Daniel Ramsell and 65 not out from Joe Fairbrother saw MK (230-8) home in the final over.

It’s still tight at other end of the table, with the bottom three in with a chance of surviving with two games to go.

Newport Pagnell are currently bottom, but are just 18 points from safety despite losing by nine wickets to Olney.

Newport’s batting has let them down this season, and they were skittled for just 89 as Stuart Keeping took 5-17.

Marcus Bates, who took four wickets, then hit 33 not out as Olney (90-1) coasted to victory.

Milton Keynes City and New City went head-to-head, but the game was abandoned due to time constraints.

MK City scored 274-6 declared, but the game was called with New City on 205-6 with four overs to go.

Aspley Guise could still fight their way into Division One next season after a four wicket win over Milton Bryan catapulted them back into contention.

They now sit fourth in the table, just 18 points behind Biddenham in the final promotion spot.

David Quick and Chris Beales both took three wickets as Milton Bryan scored 186-9 from their innings. Peter Young at the top of the order top scored for the home side with 58.

Milton Bryan’s David Shearn took three quick wickets at the top of Aspley Guises’ order which left them floundering.

But Beales continued his hot form with a brilliant 89 not out to rescue Aspley Guise.

And with Mike McDonald adding another 44, the visitors (187-6) made it over the line with plenty to spare.

Biddenham, aware that the pack are chomping at their heels, kept up the pressure though with a nine wicket win over New Bradwell.

New Bradwell, who have had a disappointing term in Division Two, slumped to just 144 all out as Robert Kraus (4-25) destroyed the middle order for Biddenham.

And the home side made light work of the New Bradwell bowling attack, scoring 145-1 in 21 overs to complete the victory.

Old Bradwell heaped more misery bottom club Studham, beating them by four wickets to open the gap at the bottom to 50 points with two games remaining.

Graham Downard took 4-11 for Old Bradwell as Studham were bowled out for 102.

In reply, Old Bradwell (104-6) dropped six wickets, but the result never looked in doubt.

The league’s leading wicket taken Ian Gillam was on top form once again as North Crawley 2nds wrapped up the Division Three title courtesy of a two wicket win over Luton Caribbean. Gillam took 4-38 as North Crawley bowled out Caribbean for 139.

And although they were always ahead of the run-rate, Crawley lost eight wickets to make for a nail-biting finale.

But they could celebrate the title victory as Rajah Thangartnam and Richard Braybrook hit the winning runs (140-8) to make it a double-winning weekend for North Crawley, following the 1st team’s Division One win.

Open University suffered a shock five wicket defeat to bottom club Stewkley Vicarage. Let down by their batting, OU were bowled out for just 81, leaving them with an uphill task with the ball. Despite taking five wickets, it was an easy win in the end for Stewkley (82-5).

Richard Fletcher hit 77 not out, but he was left on his own with the bat as Shenley Church End (143-8) lost by seven wickets to Ivinghoe & Pitstone (147-3).

Printers and Westcroft both sealed promotion this weekend with victories, but it is still all to play for in the Division Four title race.

Printers (210-8 dec) made light work of Eaton Bray 2nds (61) while Westcroft (112-6) were four wicket winners over Milton Keynes 2nds (106). The pair are separated by just three points. New City 2nds (221) drew with Harlington (179-8) and New Bradwell 2nds (198-9) lost by one wicket to Wilden (199-9).

In Division Five, Olney’s game with Newport Pagnell 2nds was conceded as they stay top, while Great Brickhill 3rds (86-4) beat North Crawley 3rds (84) to keep the pressure up. MK City 2nds (154-7) settled for a draw with Wing (138-8).

Stony Stratford 4ths 160-9) drew with Edlesborough (246-3 dec) in Division Six.

In Division Seven, Aspley Guise 2nds (112) lost to Cublington 3rds (13-4) and Wolverton 3rds (105) lost to Buckland & Aston Clinton 2nds (163).