THATCHAM shook off some recent jitters to cement their lead at the top of Division Three A of the Morrant Thames Valley League with a 124-run derby beating of Newbury at Northcroft.
Thatcham won the toss and responded sensibly with the bat to total 227-5 in 51 overs with skipper Duncan Johnsons 54 the top score, Bobby Vynatheya claiming 3-36 in his 13 overs for the home side.
But Newbury’s reply hit the rocks almost immediately as spinner Chris Bird plucked out 5-51 and Scott Higson and John Williams claimed two victims apiece as Newbury were dismissed in the 29th over for 103, skipper Kevin Mills leading the resistance with his 26.
Falkland II’s challenge was stifled by an 84-run home defeat at the hands of a Royal Ascot side now established as Thatcham’s main title challengers.
Ascot posted 279-5 declared after 46 overs with Warren Miller (107 not out) and Jack Kendall (95) producing a thrid wicket stand of 181.
Falkland’s response owed most to their skipper Graham Beal, who made 86 of their all out total of 195, a late order rally falling a couple of overs short of safety.
Falkland’s first team had to settle for a draw at Beaconsfield in Division One to leave them still with ground to make up on the leaders.
Openers DannyWilliams (26) and Ben Piper (45) put on 51 but it was an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 118 between Mark Abrams (101 not out) and James Bloodworth (51 not out) that took them to 283-6 in the 52 overs.
The hosts were going well at 180-3 but Nigel Odedra was left unbeaten on 74 as Hamza Riazuddin took 4-44 to stall their progress and they were 255-7 at the close.