Berkshire’s new captain Dan Lincoln slammed an unbeaten 101 from 57 balls to help keep alive his sides hopes of reaching National Counties T20 Finals Day with a double over Buckinghamshire at Wargrave.
Lincoln’s century, which included six sixes, helped to set up a 36 runs win in the opening match of the day before Berkshire followed up with a nine runs win in another high-scoring contest in the second match.
Berkshire now head to Ampthill on Sunday May 8 for a double-header against Bedfordshire which will decide Group Four.
Oxfordshire currently head the group with 10 points but they sit out the final round of matches with both Bedfordshire, on eight points, and Berkshire on six, both able to overtake them.
Middlesex batter Jack Davies marked his return to Berkshire’s ranks for the first time since the 2019 Championship final win over Lincolnshire with 70 in the second match.
Buckinghamshire responded with 82 from Eliot Callis and 44 from Alexei Kervezee and although they lost only three wickets they fell short by nine runs.
Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire finished with a win each at Wormsley where Oxfordshire edged the opener by eight runs before Bedfordshire took revenge with a nine wickets romp in the second.
Bedfordshire captain George Thurstance had a productive day with 130 runs in two innings for once out and former Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely made 40 in his first innings for Bedfordshire in 13 years in the opener.
Slow left-armers George Darlow and Archie Houghton – on debut – shared six wickets between them to restrict Oxfordshire to 135 for seven in the second match with Thurstance and Eddie Ballard (67 not out) responding with an opening stand of 121.
Cheshire emerged as hot favourites to win Group One after they completed a double over Cumbria at Toft.
Sam Perry’s half century and a belligerent unbeaten 42 from Alex Money helped Cheshire to a 17 runs win in the opener with Michael Slack responding with a half century of his own for Cumbria.
The second game was closer with opener Rob Sehmi’s 46 helping to counter probing bowling from Lancashire seamer Richard Gleeson, who took two for ten in his four overs.
Flowery Field seamer Michael Finan kept Cumbria in check with three wickets and Cheshire got home by five runs to make it five wins in six games.
Cheshire travel to play Northumberland at South Northumberland on Sunday with a two points lead over Staffordshire who face Cumbria at Carlisle in their double-header.
Northumberland ended a run of five straight defeats to record their first win of the season when beat Shropshire by eight wickets in the second match at Whitchurch.
Andre Bradford continued his prolific start to his National Counties career with another half century in the opener which Shropshire won by 27 runs.
Alasdair Appleby then shone with ball and bat – two for 12 and 50 not out – to see Northumberland home in the second.
Dorset bounced back from defeat by Herefordshire on Sunday to inflict two defeats on Devon at North Perrott.
Devon were shot out for just 68 in the opener with spinners Felix Organ and Rob Pack taking six for 26 between them to set up a seven wickets win.
Hampshire opener Felix then made 69 and Sam Young 62 in an opening stand of 119 before Callum Haggett took four wickets for Devon who were beaten by 41 runs.
Dorset now lead Group Two by a point from Cornwall who they play at Wadebridge on Sunday.
Cornwall kept the pressure on Dorset with a double of their own over Wiltshire at the South Wilts club in Salisbury.
A half century from Christian Purchase and useful contributions from Matt Robins and Dan Lello saw Cornwall to six wickets win in the first match.
Wiltshire were then shot out for 93 with Ben Ellis and Tom Dinnis sharing six wickets but they made Cornwall graft for victory.
Cameron Harding, a seamer who is a product of Somerset’s pathway system, took five for 18 on debut but Cornwall scrambled home by three wickets.
Holders Hertfordshire face a potential shoot-out with Cambridgeshire to decide the Group Three winner at Welwyn Garden City on Sunday.
Hertfordshire completed a double over Suffolk at Copdock – successfully chasing in both games – while Cambridgeshire slipped up in their second match against Norfolk at Wisbech.
Cambridgeshire won the first game comfortably by 61 runs with seamer Mark Smith taking four for 13 to dismiss Norfolk for 75.
But Norfolk recovered quickly and posted a more competitive total in the second match thanks to Sam Arthurton’s half century. Cambridgeshire had early impetus from Wayne White’s 33-ball 37 but then lost five wickets for 22 runs in mid-innings and were dismissed for 106.
Jamie Southgate’s unbeaten 74 from 62 balls led Hertfordshire’s chase in the first match at Copdock after Darren Ironside (57) and Ben Parker (20) had rescued Suffolk with a seventh wicket stand of 57.
Essex wicketkeeper/batter Will Buttleman marked his first appearance of the season for Hertfordshire with 42 in 19 balls which dominated an opening partnership of 64 with James Latham.
Latham (56 not out) and captain Reece Hussain (42) got Hertfordshire most of the way to a target of 150 which they reached with five overs to spare.
National Counties T20
Toft: Cheshire 147-6 (Sam Perry 54, Alex Money 42 not out), Cumbria 130-8 (Michael Slack 54). Cheshire won by 17 runs. Cheshire 135-8 (Rob Sehmi 46), Cumbria 130-9 (Michael Finan 3-20). Cheshire won by five runs.
Whitchurch: Shropshire 158-3 (Andre Bradford 52), Northumberland 131-9. Shropshire won by 27 runs.Shropshire 102 (George Darwood 3-22), Northumberland 103-2 (Alasdair Appleby 50 not out). Northumberland won by eight wickets.
North Perrott: Devon 68 (Felix Organ 3-12, Rob Pack 3-14), Dorset 71-3. Dorset won by seven wickets. Dorset165-5 (Felix Organ 69, Sam Young 62, Callum Haggett 4-38), Devon 124-8 (David Scott 3-13). Dorset won by 41 runs.
South Wilts CC: Wiltshire 163-5 (Ed Young 42), Cornwall 166-6 (Christian Purchase 50, Matt Robins 42). Cornwall won by four wickets. Wiltshire 93 (Ben Ellis 3-32, Tom Dinnis 3-14), Cornwall 94-7 (Cameron Harding 5-18). Cornwall won by three wickets.
Wisbech: Cambridgeshire 136-6, Norfolk 75 (Mark Smith 4-13). Cambridgeshire won by 61 runs. Norfolk 132-5 (Sam Arthurton 62), Cambridgeshire 106. Norfolk won by 26 runs.
Copdock: Suffolk 149-9 (Darren Ironside 51), Hertfordshire 152-5 Jamie Southgate 74 not out). Hertfordshire won by five wickets. Suffolk 149-9 (Abishek Kulkarni 3-30), Hertfordshire 155-2 (James Latham 56 not out, Will Buttleman 42, Reece Hussain 42). Hertfordshire won by eight wickets.
Wargrave: Berkshire 180-5 (Dan Lincoln 101 not out), Buckinghamshire 144-5 (Teddie Casterton 44 not out). Berkshire won by 36 runs. Berkshire 184-6 (Jack Davies 70, Tom Hampton 3-24), Buckinghamshire 175-3 (Eliot Callis 82, Alexei Kervezee 44). Berkshire won by nine runs.
Wormsley: Oxfordshire 160-6 (Ollie Currill 40), Bedfordshire 152-4 (George Thurstance 80 not out, Alex Wakely 40). Oxfordshire won by eight runs. Oxfordshire 135-7 (Archie Houghton 3-15, George Darlow 3-31), Bedfordshire 138-1 (Eddie Ballard 67 not out, George Thurstance 50). Bedfordshire won by nine wickets.