FINCHAMPSTEAD CC’s hopes of retaining the Home Counties Premier League Division One title look over.

Last year’s champions suffered a shock five-wicket defeat at Great & Little Tew and have slipped to fourth in the table, 39 points behind leaders Henley with four 50-50 fixtures remaining.

The game in the Oxfordshire countryside was badly affected by rain and dark clouds also hung over the Finchampstead batting.

On a greenish wicket, both openers Andrew House (8) and Adam Dewes (4) were back in the pavilion with only 19 runs on the board.

Dan Marles (11) and Josh Lincoln (1) also fell in quick succession to leave Finch in serious trouble at 32-4.

Billy Rogers (14) and Jandre Coetzee (pictured) saw the 50 up before the former was caught in the gully, and that is also where Craig Hodges (4) was taken, making it 60-6.

When Coetzee (17) was caught behind for Jancan Adams’ third wicket of the day it was 64–7 and Finch went in for lunch at 79–7 from 21 overs.

One run later Anthony Parsons (2) departed, but rain returned and the match, originally cut to 60-52, was reduced again to 56-48.

At 95, Matt Carter, having produced some aggressive strokes, was bowled by spinner Joe Thomas for 28 with the total on 95 and the innings ended at a very disappointing 104 when Max Uttley (0) was caught in the slips off the first ball of the 33rd over.

The Finch bowlers got the start they needed when Coetzee’s second ball saw skipper Harrison Smith caught behind for a duck and in the third over he had Joe White (2) caught by Uttley at slip to leave the home side 7-2.

Finches kept up the pressure and Coetzee had Tom Price (7) caught behind by Lincoln to leave the score 26-3 and it was 45-4 when Carter had Henry Woodward (7) snapped up in the slips, again by Uttley.

But Jordan Garrett and Lloyd Brock started to turn the game and the pair took the total to 95 before the latter was caught by Carter at mid-on off spinner Uttley.

Garrett remained unbeaten on 39 when his side sealed a vital victory in their fight to stay out of the relegation zone.

This was the last of the timed games before the final 50-50 format resumes on Saturday when Finch host relegation-threatened Burnham.

L IN Division One of the Thames Valley League, Finchampstead 2nds’ home game with Boyne Hill was abandoned because of rain with the hosts on 59-1 off 16.5 overs with Tommie Predgen 31 not out.

Finchampstead 3rds were involved in a Division 3a thriller at Fleet. They were dismissed for 135 all out with Tom Wroot making 45 and Ian Rose 39.

Fleet collapsed to 35-5, but managed to scrape home by one wicket. Sam Taylor took 5- 45 and Tom Tinsley 3-35.

Finchampstead 4ths defeated Royal Ascot 3rds by 26 runs to move up to second place in Division 6b. Gareth Biggs (37) and Chris Ward (34) took the batting honours as Finch made 145-7 before bowling out their visitors for 119. Spinners Ben Cole 6-51 and Matt Harper 4-24 did the damage.

Finchampstead 5ths drew with Royal Ascot 4ths in Division 8a. The hosts totalled 228-1 in their 37 overs with Finch making 138-5 in reply, Mike Sheldon scoring 38 and son Joe a fine 47 not out.