GERRARDS Cross CC came within a whisker of derailing the Home Counties leaders at the weekend, only to be denied by a frantic last over from Banbury.

The hosts needed 12 off the final over to dodge defeat after Cross had batted superbly to post 257-4.

Liam Manley clipped the first ball for four and then launched the second towards the mid-wicket boundary.

The batsmen ran two as a spectacular piece a fielding appeared to have saved a boundary, but the umpires consulted and six runs were awarded.

Two singles off the next two balls finished the job for Banbury, while Cross, who did just about everything right in the game, were left scratching their heads and wondering what they have to do to win a match.

Batting first, they took the game to Banbury with Mohammed Avas (28) and Matt Watson (77) sharing an opening stand of 74.

A third wicket stand of 66 from Watson and Pratik Patel (34) moved them up to 157-4, before Dan Hampton (81 not out from 76 balls) dominated an unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 100 with Sam Westaway (27 not out).

Banbury replied with 124 for the first wicket, but once they’d gone in successive overs Izzy Khan (3-48) sparked a middle order collapse with three wickets falling for seven runs.

That left Banbury on 158-5, before Luke Ryan’s 51 off just 26 balls kept Banbury in the game.

However, the momentum swung back to Cross with Vikram Banerjee (4-63) claiming three more wickets, but the decisive moment of the match was still to come.

Cross host bottom club Harefield on Saturday in a match they simply can’t afford to lose.