CECIL AMEY OPTICIANS
North Runcton (163-8) lost to Old Buckenham (167-6)
by four wickets
Old Buckenham bounced back from last week’s season-opening defeat by running out winners in west Norfolk on Saturday.
After captain Terry Perry decided to field, Bucks’ opening pair of Glen Meredith and Nicholas Pentz made the home side’s openers work hard.
And after plenty of playing and missing, Pentz had the reward. The big South African took Mark Skipper’s outside edge for 4.
After the first wicket, a period of drizzle came down and curtailed the onslaught as Kiwi Dean Robinson and Andrew Barrett looked to steady the ship.
The batsmen got a few balls to the boundary but Bucks’ openers kept things tight and after a couple of close chances, Pentz picked up another two wickets.
The next pairing of Benjamin Coote and George Rawlings consolidated and put on 70 runs over the next 25 overs.
Coote inflicted most of the damage, bringing up a fine half-century, but when Rawlings was finally out, stumped by Robert Goodwin off the new bowler Robert Thurley, this exposed Runcton’s lower order.
Thurley picked up another two quickly, one caught each by Goodwin and Pentz, and then Lawrence snaffled both Darren Cubitt (5) and Josh Ring (0) nicked behind to Goodwin.
This left Coote an uphill task to drag his side to a respectable total — nevertheless the left-hander found the boundary a couple more times to finish 77 not out, but his side could only muster 163-8.
Bucks felt this was at least 50 under-par on a good wicket, however they would need to start well against the home side’s new-ball bowlers.
Unfortunately, this was not the case as Bucks lost three quick wickets, all caught behind from lifting deliveries to Ben Skipper.
This left the visitors on 35-3 with an in-form Thurley at the crease and James Heaney looking to provide support.
The pairing saw off the openers and the new-ball threat, settling into their business and ticking the score over at the required rate.
The pair looked like they would easily complete the victory after seeing the return of Coote and Skipper off, but Michael Annakin’s first ball removed Thurley for a brilliant 46 and broke the 87-run partnership. Two balls later the same bowler dismissed Ben Shearing second-ball lbw and when Meredith departed (also lbw) to Skipper, this saw the away side collapse from 119-4 to 122-6 and still needing 43 runs to win.
Nevertheless, vice-captain Andrew Lawrence’s counter-acting blitz and Heaney’s continued determined innings saw Bucks over the line in the 40th over.
Lawrence finished on 35, while Heaney added 32 from 74 balls to complete the 21-point victory ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Downham (1pm).