AFTER topping the Thames Valley League a few weeks ago, Marlow now find themselves back down in fifth place after their defeat to Beaconsfield on Saturday completed an unwanted hat-trick of reverses.

They bowled poorly and didn’t bat well in reply, which is never a good combination, and after successive losses to Eversley and Kew they are now back among the also-rans.

Beaconsfield by contrast, are beginning to climb the table after making it two wins in three weeks after failing to win any of their first eight league fixtures.

Marlow captain Graeme Paskins said: “We’ve been playing pretty well and competing.

“In the last few weeks we’ve just been out-played by overseas players. Against Eversley their overseas player got 90 odd and against Kew their overseas player scored 60 in 20 balls.

“We’ve been playing pretty well and are pleased with the way the season has gone generally.

“Saturday was just a blip, a bit of a hangover from winning the Julian Cup.”

Marlow actually won the toss and opted to insert their hosts, but the seamers failed to back up their captain with scattergun bowling.

Making hay were Beaconsfield openers Adam Francis (56) and Ahmed Hussan (86), who scored 79 in a blistering opening 12 overs and had taken the score to 152 by the time Mark Dozell finally broke the partnership in the 37th over.

Dozell (2-53) and spin partner Jeremy Batty (3-73) did wrest back some control for Marlow in unbroken 20-over spells, but the damage was done by then as Beaconsfield reached 215-5 in 52 overs.

Paskins himself then fell first ball of Marlow’s reply, and although Nick Paskins (36) and Kevin Hudson (20) suggested a recovery, their wickets opened the floodgates as James Rendall (6-41) ripped through Marlow, who were all out for 132.

Paskins said: “It was a steamy day and we thought it would move around early doors.

“It did move a bit, but we bowled in such bad areas we let them get off to a flier.

“We should have kept them to 175 but they got far too many runs.

“Then we lost a couple of early wickets and although we got into a strong position and thought we could turn it into a winning position, there was a bit of a clatter of wickets when Nick and Kevin went and that was it.

“But we threw the game away in the first hour and a half.

“We’ve got to play our best to get something out of games in this league, but I’m confident we’ll bounce back. It is a big game against Datchet [next weekend] now.”

Beaconsfield go to High Wycombe 2s on Saturday.