EVERYONE apart from the leaders have one eye over their shoulder in one of the most tightly packed Home Counties League Division Two tables of recent years.

Less than 30 points separate the nine teams bunched behind Reading, and Amersham captain Luke Jackson believes every one of them is just a mini-wobble away from the foot of the table.

His own side nosedived four places after missing a golden opportunity to inflict a first defeat on Reading last Saturday, and Jackson admits the pressure is building.

He said: “Reading are about two games ahead of everyone else, which is a lot at this stage of the season.

“But we’re closer to the bottom than we are to second now and if you lose two matches you could quickly end up down there.

“I think everyone except Reading will be keeping an eye on the bottom now.”

It would have all looked so different though had Amersham capitalised on a position of strength against the leaders last weekend.

Reading won the toss and opted to bat first, but Stephano Joubert was in inspired form and his figures of 7-51 restricted them to just 190 from 58 overs.

It might have been substantially less than that too as Reading opener Sukhmeet Kang needed four lives on his way to a top score with 87.

But Amersham’s openers drove those might-have-beens to the boundary as Robert Viney (44) and Bruce Friderichs (38) gave them team the perfect platform.

They had taken the score to 80 when Friderichs was the first to fall, and Viney was still there when they went for tea at 97-1.

Jackson said: “When you’re in that position you’d like to think you’d win the game nine times out of ten, we were favourites.

“But I’m not sure what their opening bowler had in his tea.

“I don’t think any of us anticipated how well he’d bowl. It was one of the best bowling performances I’ve seen at this level, he was exceptional.”

Jack Beaven was the man in question, and apart from one Khalid Malik wicket, he tore through the Amersham order single handedly after tea to end the day with match-winning figures of 7-38.

No Amersham batter after the top three reached double figures as Beaven found his range.

Jackson said: “A few of us probably wished we’d played a different shot, but he got most of us out.

“We nicked them all. They all went to the wicket-keeper and you wouldn’t want to come up against that quality every week – or ever.

“It was a strange day.”

Amersham host Horspath on Saturday.