Marvel Malik can’t stop the Cove slide
Cove ......................... 126 Horspath .............. 129-2
OUT-OF-FORM Cove were dragged perilously close to the relegation zone after suffering a heavy home defeat to high-flying newcomers Horspath on Saturday.
Opting to bat first, Andy Short's men were staring down the barrel early on as they were reduced to 19-5 before a solid half-century from overseas star Najeeb Bashir Malik at least offered some respectability.
Sadly, though, his 54 and Cove's 126 was never likely to be enough as Horspath cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket victory with plenty of overs to spare.
Horspath paceman Patrick Foster was the executionerin-chief, taking a quite brilliant 7-38 as Cove floundered to 19-5 and then 67-8 with only Malik making inroads.
Eventually he found some assistant in the shape of tailenders Craig Taylor (11) and young Tom Redhead (17no) but Andy Short’s men quite there for the taking.
Malik claimed an early success to offer Cove hope but led by Joseph Todd (49) and James Phillips (54no), the Oxfordshire side were almost in control and it was only a matter of time before the home side were licking their wounds of another defeat which leaves them just one place and six points above the relegation zone.
Next up for Cove is the visit of a Dinton side, who racked up their highest ever Home Counties Premier League score on Saturday – but still couldn’t complete a victory against Finchampstead.
The Oxfordshire side smashed 339-5 from 58 overs with Matt Renhaw top scoring with an unbeaten 131.
But brave Finch dug in and somehow survived their full quota of 62 overs and hung on for a draw with the final pair holding on at 210-9.
Finch entertain Chesham this Saturday.
COVE brought the Aylward Cup back to the News & Mail region after a three-year absence after they beat Finchampstead by 81 runs in a one-sided final at Hartley Wintney CC. Man-of-the-match Trent Keep top scored with 81 and Jordan Finney added 65 as Cove posted 182-2 before Dave Schutz’s 5-26 helped skittle Finch for 101 in reply. Slip up: Cove’s Tom Redhead slips mid wicket but recovers to continue his tail-end assault which wasn’t quite enough to prevent Horspath cruising to a comfortable win PICTURE: ALI WILSON