A BRILLIANT all-round display saw Finchampstead edge ever closer to the Home Counties Premier League title with a seven-wicket win over fellow high-fliers Henley.
With the two bottom sides still to play, Finches knew victory would put them firmly in the driving seat and despite the absence of captain Dan Marles they quickly made a mockery of Henley’s decision to bat.
Just 14 runs were on the board before both openers Matthew Rowe and Jack Davies had fallen to Matt Carter and Jandre Coetzee respectively.
And South African Coetzee ended the innings as leading bowler with figures of 3-33 as he also dismissed skipper Michael Roberts (4) and tail-ender Tahir Afridi (15).
Henley could not generate any momentum during their batting innings as Finch regularly changed up their bowling attack with no less than six men getting at least four overs with the ball.
From 14-2 the visitors crumbled to 50-6 before eventually being bowled out for 129 with the unbeaten Bjorn Mordt (34) the only man to offer real resistance as Craig Hodges (2-9), Max Uttley (1-17) and Adam Dewes (1-18) all joined Coetzee and Carter (2-29) in picking up wickets.
And the league leaders made light work of the chase, led by Andy Rishton, who was recalled to the first team after making a century for the seconds the previous week.
Opening the batting, former Reading man Rishton preserved his wicket, top scoring with 76 and he was helped over the line by Dan Lincoln (36) as the win was sealed in the 23rd over.
Finches now sit 25 points clear of nearest rivals Banbury with just three games to play.
Wokingham Cricket Club
STUART PARSONS top scored on 63 as Wokingham kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a high-scoring 44-run win over Cove.
In a return to win/lose cricket, something captain Stuart Hayter has always insisted suits his side better, the Oaks batted first and racked up a big target of 268 to win.
Parsons led the way but he was ably supported by Jack Turner (46), Hayter (39) and Michael Bates (36) to tick the score along and close on 267-8.
And it was Tom Wood who took charge with the ball, picking up four wickets to give Cove problems.
Nick Randell (39no), Tino Mawoyo (38) and Jake Roylance (30) all built up decent scores as the mid-table side batted out their 50 overs but could only reach 223-7.
The result leaves Wokingham third in the Thames Valley Division One table, but still 49 points off leaders Stoke Green with only three games to play, starting at Falkland on Saturday.