FINCHAMPSTEAD’S hopes of retaining the Home Counties Premier League Division One title took a knock as they were beaten by three wickets at home to Tring Park on Saturday, writes Richard Ashton.

After being asked to bat, Finch lost Andrew House early, the opener edging veteran Simon Stanway to wicketkeeper Shelvin Gumbs.

Rain forced an early lunch with the home side 55-1 after 15 overs, the game reduced to a 57-49 contest when the players were able to return to the field.

Finch skipper Dan Marles and Adam Dewes (38) put on 99 before the former fell for a well-made 55.

Dewes fell two runs later for 38, but Billy Rogers and Ed Oliver steadied the ship and took the score to 183-3 with 10 overs of the innings remaining.

Rogers fell for a fine 54 and Josh Lincoln went for a duck as Finch slipped to 199-5, but Oliver’s (61no) excellent innings was supplemented by Jandre Coetzee (23 from 21 balls) as their side reached 248-6 before declaring after 56 overs.

The South African struck early when dismissing Liam Gough for 2, but Alex Woodland and Charlie Macdonell batted well before the former was caught and bowled by Anthony Parson for 23.

Macdonnell was in sumptuous touch, though, and with Michael Payne adding 38 before falling to Marles, Tring were in command.

Macdonell’s (101) well-deserved ton ended when he was bowled by Adam Dewes, and three quick wickets left Tring 225-7.

However, despite needing 33 from the last four overs, Sam Rimmington and Kamran Shah struck the ball well to get their side home with seven balls to spare.

Second-placed Finchampstead – now 20 points behind Henley – visit Horspath on Saturday (11am).

Andy Lazenbury (43) top scored as rock bottom Finchampstead 2nds (140) emphatically lost to Cove (141-3) by seven wickets in Division One of the Thames Valley League.

Phil West (61) and Richard Reed (47) were among the runs for Finchampstead 3rds (179-9), but they lost to Division 3a leaders Wargrave (183-8) by two wickets. Sam Taylor took 6-53 for Finch.

Chris Ward’s 54 could not save Finchampstead 4ths (180) from avoiding a five-wicket defeat to Cove 3rds (181-5) in Division 6b.

Finchampstead 5ths held on for the draw in Division 8b, scoring 128-8 in reply to Sonning 3rds' 240-6.

Parth Patel took 4-43 for Finch, while Matt Rowley then made an unbeaten 53 in the run chase.

In division eight the Fifths visited Sonning Thirds. Sonning posted 240 – 6 with Parv Patel taking 4 – 40. Finches closed for the draw at 128 – 8. They were assisted by a fine 53 not out from Matt Rowley.