CECIL AMEY OPTICIANS NORFOLK ALLIANCE
Old Buckenham (184) lost to North Runcton (185-3)
by seven wickets
Old Buckenham kept hold of top spot, despite slipping to a second consecutive defeat at home to mid-table North Runcton at the weekend.
Bucks were without their skipper Terry Perry for Saturday’s clash with North Runcton, as vice-captain Andrew Lawrence stood in for the day.
Lawrence’s opposite number, Benjamin Coote, won the toss and elected to field first against their hosts.
This decision was vindicated as Coote himself ripped through the home side’s top three, with Matthew Bint and Robert Thurley caught in the gulley either side of Ben Askew being bowled.
James Heaney joined Lawrence at the crease and the pair looked to wrestle the momentum back from the West Norfolk side.
The duo found the boundary regularly in between a period of quite a few extras being bowled, but nevertheless Heaney perished to Joshua Ring, and when Lawrence was caught by the same player off the bowling of Jack Major, Bucks looked in trouble.
However, Benjamin Shearing and Glen Meredith had better ideas and the pairing went on to forge a decent partnership, with both passing the 30 mark.
Yet the second drinks break of the day broke Shearing’s concentration and started a collapse that saw Bucks lose their last four wickets for 40 runs, and naively not using four of their allotted overs.
The home side finished on 184 all out, a decent score, but about 25 runs below par and knew they would need to start well in the next innings to achieve another victory.
The new ball pair of Meredith and Lawrence did start well, but the first ball of the North Runcton innings summed up Bucks’ day in the field. Mark Skipper set off for a suicidal single to leave New Zealand pro Dean Robinson stranded, but Thurley’s one handed pick up and throw missed the stumps by a whisker.
From then on it was a tale of numerous false shots not quite landing, with the awaited fielders and too many half chances going begging.
This was while Robinson ticked away at the total, even after the dismissal of Skipper, caught by Heaney at second slip off Lawrence.
Meredith’s initial spell had the Kiwi uncomfortable at times, but after seeing off the new ball, the import looked at ease despite some good spin bowling coming his way at the crease.
Meredith finally got the wicket he deserved in his second spell, having George Rawlings caught behind and then Nick Freeman went shortly afterwards, again caught by Robert Goodwin off the bowling of Tom Alexander.
Nevertheless, it was much too late for Bucks as Robinson started to maintain the strike and started hitting some big sixes to see his side home at a canter.
Bucks (first) travel to third-placed Downham Town tomorrow (1pm), with just two points separating the two sides heading into the weekend.