OSWESTRY’S reign at the top of division two of the Birmingham Premier Cricket League was cut short by rivals Leamington at the Stonehouse Oval on Saturday as the Bordermen narrowly lost by two wickets.

The home side’s total of 179 was always likely to be under par after skipper Dean Suter lost the toss and was invited to bat.

At 129-3 Oswestry were well placed with nearly 30 overs to go following the dismissals of Joe Carrasco (39) and Xavier Clarke (23), but the departure of Connor Davies for a patient 30 heralded a dramatic collapse with seven wickets falling for just 50 runs in the next 16 overs.

Only Roman Walker, who top scored with 47, played with any authority against the Leamington spinners as the dangerous Nabeel Asghar (4-40) and Perry Derrick (3-41) ran through the Oswestry batsmen.

In response, at 38-4 the Warwickshire side, were themselves in all kinds of trouble.

Larry Samarakoon picked up three early wickets as Oswestry struck back, but deprived of the bowling services of Walker, and Warrick Fynn unable to check the halt the visitors’ counter-attack, the Bordermen could not deliver the necessary hammer blow.

A crucial fifth wicket partnership of 61 in even time between Sulaiman Hussain (47) and Willie Mashinge (37) saw the game swing back firmly in Leamington’s favour.

It was Jamie Treasure (27 not out), Chis Calcott (17) and Asghar (15) who helped to see Leamington over the line and secure an important victory.

It was a disappointing result for Dean Suter’s men, who were not quite good enough on the day, despite the valiant efforts of Samarakoon (5-37) turning in another fine bowling performance.

Oswestry remain very much in the mix in fifth place, with only 17 points separating the leading six sides.

But as the season enters its final third, and the spinners start to come into their own on wearing wickets, Suter will be looking for more collective batting performances from his team rather than having to rely on the top order most weeks.

Suter’s men will look to put things right in their next fixture as they take on Halesowen first XI away.

Oswestry seconds got home by the skin of their teeth in a gripping game against Ludlow XI at the Bur way, to continue their impressive winning streak.

Jonny Davies led the way with a fine 41 and there were useful contributions from Alex Roberts (22) Mattie Davies (20), Steve Humphreys (19) and Alex Selby (18) as Oswestry posted a total of 183-8 off their 40 overs.

Willie Wood led the home reply with a fine 60, but he was one of five Ludlow batsmen to fall victim to young leg spinner Floyd Owen who returned the impressive figures of 5-46. There were two wickets apiece for fellow teenagers Alex Selby and Mattie Davies. The side will hope to continue in the same vein of form against Shelton seconds at home on Saturday.