ROBBIE Eason and Max Smith shared an exhilarating unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 171 to set Horspath on the way to a 76-run victory at home to Wembdon in the Voneus Village Cup fifth round.

Opener Eason made an unbeaten 102 while Smith slammed 80 not out to take the Oxfordshire champions to 236-4 off 40 overs in the last 32 tie.

Roared on by the Recreation Ground crowd, the hosts then dismissed the Somerset & Avon group winners for 160.

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Now Horspath will take the next step on the road to Lord’s when they make the near 500-mile round trip to Grampound Road in Cornwall on July 2.

Eason and Smith came together with Horspath precariously placed at 65-4 in the 18th over, and gradually turned the innings around before unleashing a dazzling display to post a challenging total.

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Eason, who survived a straightforward chance to mid-off when he made three, reached his half-century with a six to the mid-wicket boundary, before Smith brought up his fifty with a flashing cover drive.

Eason was on 91 going into the last over and he slapped the third delivery on to the scout hut roof for six, before bringing up his century in majestic fashion by cracking the next ball for four.

The pair plundered 107 runs off the last 10 overs, with Eason hitting 12 fours and two sixes in his 121-ball knock, while Smith’s runs came off just 63 deliveries with 12 fours and a six.

With a forecast of thundery showers, the aim of being up with the run rate from 20 overs was clearly at the back of the visitors’ minds as they went for their shots.

However, they came up against a superb Horspath show in the field with the bowlers supported by some excellent catches.

Wembdon had reached 21-0 after four overs when Smith ran out Harry Everett with a brilliant direct hit from mid-on as the Wembdon opener sprinted to the wicketkeeper’s end, and two balls later skipper Will Eason (2-38) bowled Harry Love to spark further Horspath celebrations.

Wembdon captain Jonathan Brockwell came to the crease at 64-4 and kept his side’s hopes alive with an awesome display of hitting. He cleared the ropes twice before he reached a half-century with a single through mid-wicket, but with light rain falling after 20 overs, Wembdon were behind the run rate at 107-5.

Brockwell crashed another maximum over long on, before his valiant knock came to an end when he was bowled by Subhan Javaid for 60 off 38 balls, with seven fours and three sixes to make it 139-8.

With Wembdon trading sixes for wickets, Jimmy Phillips pulled off an amazing one-handed catch above his head to dismiss Jack Lowe off Josh Richardson (2-15).

Horspath’s victory was complete when Stephen Green caught Liam Pigden on the mid-wicket boundary off Amin Rafiq (3-32) to leave the visitors all out off 31.1 overs.