Thatcham Town Cricket Club came within two runs of victory in their season opener at Aldershot on Saturday, but instead found themselves beaten.
In a thrilling start to the Thames Valley Cricket League Division 2B, Thatcham quickly chased down Aldershot’s target of 210 to get to 209 with one over remaining.
But needing just two more runs to win and one for a draw, the final wicket fell as Nick Bishop was bowled out and Aldershot clung on for victory.
Aldershot batted first and Thatcham’s bowlers did well to limit the amount of runs they could pick up in the early stages and after 30 overs they were on 100-3.
After Callum Grover was dismissed for 54, the hosts fought back as Dan Anslow and captain Amir Hameed managed to get a late 45 runs between them and ended on 210-9 after their 50 overs.
Despite Aldershot’s impressive end to their innings, Thatcham started off well themselves as openers Josh O’Flynn (35) and Kieran Wood (29) raced to 60 runs after nine overs.
But Wood was forced off with cramp and Thatcham slumped, losing four wickets for just 15 runs in a disastrous spell.
Ryan Gilmour (33), Stephen Bird (14) and Bishop steadied the ship, but there was still a big task in front of them when Chris Bird joined Bishop at the crease, with Thatcham needing 33 runs to win.
A Bishop six moved Thatcham past the 200 mark and they seemed on course for victory, especially when Bird smashed the ball for what looked like another maximum moments later.
But somehow Aldershot’s Ahmed Faraz managed to pull off an unbelievable catch to send Bird packing and Ben Denton-Powell came on as Thatcham’s final batter.
He and Bishop managed to get up to 209, but just as a remarkable comeback seemed possible Bishop was bowled for 21 to end the match in dramatic fashion.
Thatcham got nine points for their efforts and sit eighth out of 10 in the standings.
Their first home fixture of the season is this Saturday against Beaconsfield.