ROYAL Ascot's difficult Division 2b season ended with a 79-run home defeat to Reading, writes Richard Ashton.

Andrew Murray took 3-19 as the basement side dismissed their visitors for 225, Jack Beaven top-scoring with 52 and Hamish Scott adding 42 after being promoted to open.

The Ascot reply never really got going as Sunny Jheeta (4-39) and Waqas Ahmed (3-33) excelled, the home side dismissed for 146.

Hurst finished the season in third place after beating Thatcham Town by 44 runs.

Skipper Lewis Smith (65) and Phil Higgs (41no) were among the runs for Hurst (209-6), and Andrew Ruddock (4-27) and Smith (3-25) then did the damage as the home side were bowled out for 165.

Finchampstead 2nds secured a seventh-placed finish with a 57-run home success against Fleet.

Ed Oliver (69 from 52 balls), Kwame Appiah (45) and Matt Eldridge (42) led the way as Finches posted 277-6 in their 50 overs, and with Matt Harper (3-31), James Eaglesham (3-43) and Simon Bell (3-57) all grabbing a trio of wickets, Fleet were dismissed for 220.

Eversley's hopes of snatching the Division 2a title were thwarted following a three-wicket reverse at Kidmore End.

Chris Last (60) and captain Tom Howorth (47) helped the Boars post 207-7, Alex Crawford grabbing 3-24.

In reply, debutant Jake Goodwin blasted a remarkable 102 from just 68 balls, and despite Tom Magowan snaring 6-40, Kidmore reached 208-7 in 37.1 overs to ensure their survival and a third-placed finish.

Division 3a champions Binfield crushed Purley on Thames by 191 runs to consign the Potters to relegation.

The hosts were wobbling on 100-5 after Robbie Jeffrey (3-57) produced a fine new-ball spell, but a wonderful 101 from 77 balls from Duncan Wessels, added to by Shaun Miller's 59 from 50, ensured Binfield posted a commanding 303-7 from their 45 overs.

Purley (112) struggled in reply, with Wessels (3-26) and Ian Goddard (3-8) doing the bulk of the damage for the home side.

Anthony Clapham smashed a sensational 147 as runners-up Wokingham 2nds (274) crushed Cove 2nds (173) by 101 runs.

Lewis Sharp (3-22), Mohammed Ghafoor (3-33) and Jarrett Bobb (3-40) were the pick of the Oaks' attack.

Finchampstead 3rds (115) lost to Slough 3rds (118-5) by five wickets.

Wokingham 3rds (82-2) beat North Maidenhead 2nds (81) by eight wickets, but just missed out on promotion from Division 4a after finishing third.

Basement boys Bracknell (140) lost to Reading 2nds (141-7) by three wickets.

Matt Martin made 55 for Eversley 2nds, but they were leapfrogged by Division 5b champions Maidenhead & Bray 2nds following a 46-run defeat.

The Boars are still promoted, however, finishing in second place at the end of a fine season.

Binfield 2nds ended on a high as they walloped hosts Falkland 3rds by 301 runs to seal third spot.

Matt Humphreys (125), Hector Williams (100) and Joe Sculley (81no) were in belligerent form as the visitors posted a gigantic 422-5, and with Nathan Warwick then grabbing 5-13, Falkland capitulated to 121 all out.

Rob Handley struck an unbeaten 51 as Royal Ascot 2nds (156-6) beat Henley 3rds (155) by four wickets.

In Division 6b, Daniel Harris top-scored with 53 as Hurst 2nds (203-7) edged out Finchampstead 4ths (195) by eight runs.

The stand-out performers for Finches were Joe Sheldon (66), Michael Simmonite (52) and Adil Mohammed (4-42).

David Pelczer's excellent 82 fired Wokingham 4ths (203-5) to a five-wicket triumph at Binfield 3rds (199-5).

Dan Humphrey had earlier made an unbeaten 59 for the home side.

Mike Wyatt took 4-17 for Royal Ascot 3rds (91), but they went down by 52 runs to Kidmore End 2nds (143), Attiq Uddin grabbing 4-17 for the victors.

Umair Perveiz's unbeaten 59 helped Division 8a champions Eversley 3rds (189-9) end the season on a high with a thrilling one-wicket success against Bagshot 3rds (187-3 from 40 overs).

Sabya Sen (71 from 51 balls) and skipper Toqir Khalid (50) starred for Wokingham 5ths in their thrilling tie with Finchampstead 5ths.

Adam Telford took 4-46 as the Oaks were kept to 212-5, but Finch looked in real trouble at 56-5.

However, a wonderful 96 from Gary Woodford, allied to a blistering unbeaten 54 from 36 balls from Tom Tinsley, turned the game around until Finches (212) eventually lost their last wicket with the scores tied.

Sen completed a fine all-round performance by snaffling 4-41 from his 10 overs.

Bob Bolton took 5-23 for runners-up Bradfield 2nds (76-1) as they cruised to a nine-wicket success against Bracknell 2nds (75).

James Docker retired hurt on 72 for Royal Ascot 4ths (268-6), but with Satpal Madhan also adding 70, they were able to beat Boyne Hill 4ths (243-8) by 25 runs.

Eversley 4ths secured the runners-up spot and promotion from Division 9a as they hammered Wargrave 4ths by 145 runs.

Dave Howorth retired hurt on 111, Anup Urath smashed 102 and Dave Kirby weighed in with 87 as the Boars blasted their way to a colossal 318-2.

And despite Kieran Lall's 86, that target always looked too many for the hosts, with Henry South taking 5-19 as they were restricted to 173-9 in reply.