FINCHAMPSTEAD’s hopes of a top-two finish in the Home Counties Premier League ended on Saturday when they lost by five wickets at Slough.

Last year’s champions slip to fourth in the table with just a home game to come against High Wycombe this weekend, when a victory will see them leapfrog their visitors into third place.

Finch were put into bat by Slough skipper Bobby Sher on a greenish-looking strip and lost Andrew House first ball, bowled by Ikhlaq Nawaz.

Skipper Dan Marles joined Greg Smith, but at 27 the latter was caught behind for eight.

Marles and Billy Rogers brought up the 50, only for Marles to be run out for 25 by Nabil Shah.

Rogers and Simon Bell saw the hundred up in 29 overs, but the wicketkeeper was lbw for 23 and two runs later Rogers was stumped for 61 with the total on 126-5.

Adam Dewes (16) and Jandre Coetzee (13) pushed the score along, but Finch then lost their last three wickets in quick succession and were all out for 160 in the 44th over.

Sher took 4–37 off nine overs and Zohaib Ahmed 3-23 off 6.2.

Matt Carter struck in his first over for Finchampstead, having Shah caught off a skier by Marles for four.

There was then a good partnership of 55 between Fahim Qureshi and Mo Avas, which came to an end with the total on 63 when the former (36) was brilliantly caught by Smith at fine leg off Marles.

Avas was caught at mid-wicket off spinner Max Uttley, so it was 79-3.

Lloyd Patternott was also caught off Uttley at 92, but the Slough middle order then took control with Ahmed making 35 and Daniyal Akhtar 31 as they saw their side home at 161-5 with six overs to spare.

Uttley took 2-20 off 10 overs and Carter 2-27 off seven.