Maduka’s lucky seven wickets help Amersham close the gap
Oxford beaten in low-scoring game as Sri Lankan stars with the ball to skittle out the league leaders
Even though Amersham had won their last seven games, the gap on leaders Oxford had stubbornly refused to narrow over recent weeks, but this changed dramatically when they defeated their title rivals by six wickets to make it eight in a row.
Forced to make two changes due to the in-form Viney brothers being on holiday, stand-in skipper Luke Jackson was keen to win the toss and protect his weakened batting line-up. This didn’t go to plan, but Oxford surprisingly chose to bat first on a freshly prepared pitch.
Opening bowlers Liyanapathiranage and Alex Lines immediately took the opportunity to shape the game, with Oxford at one stage reduced to 19-7, including losing three wickets in an over to Lines. With Oxford eight wickets down by lunch, Liyanapathiranage needed only eight balls after the break to take the final two, finishing with 7-31 from 16.2 overs, while Lines took 3-23 from 12.
Led by Bruce Friedrichs on 34 not out, Amersham managed to reach their target in the 20th over for the loss of four wickets, not only moving Amersham into the promotion places, but also only two points behind new leaders Horspath.
They play local rivals Gerrards Cross this weekend and will have an almost full squad to pick from, with only influential all-rounder Rich Stephenson being unavailable.
But the Cross will also be desperate for the points as they are four from safety, despite getting the best of a draw against Buckingham Town on Saturday.
Dan Hampton struck 41, while Sam Westaway and Harry Nicholls were both not far behind on 39, as the Cross made 233-8, but Buckingham stubbornly dug in to finish on 170-7, despite Elliott Green taking 2-64.
Meanwhile, Ross Haines had a brilliant debut, taking 4-39 and hitting 88 not out as Amersham 2s drew with Datchet to go top of TVL Division 3b, while the 3s stayed top of Division 5a despite losing for only the second time this year, to Marlow 2s.
Maduka Liyanapathiranage took seven Oxford wickets to help his team to victory