League-leading Old Bucks too good for the champions

STEAMING IN: Matt Hendire bowls for Old Buckenham II during Saturday's home defeat to Martham
STEAMING IN: Matt Hendire bowls for Old Buckenham II during Saturday's home defeat to Martham

CECIL AMEY OPTICIANS NORFOLK ALLIANCE

PREMIER DIVISION

Brooke (239) lost to

Old Buckenham (270-5)

by 31 runs

Old Buckenham kept hold of top spot in the Premier Division courtesy of victory at defending champions Brooke on Saturday.

Visiting captain Terry Perry lost the toss ahead of the start and was asked to bat by his opposite number on what was a drying surface.

Perry — alongside fellow opener Matthew Bint — started well against the attack of Robert Setchell and Chris Sheehy, keeping out the ball and putting away anything on offer.

However, it was the change bowling of Daniel Vihm and John Habershon that pegged Bucks back.

The latter of that duo dismissed his counterpart Perry lbw with 15 runs to his name.

This called Rob Thurley to the crease to join Bint and the pairing put on a quick 30 runs until the former was unluckily strangled down the leg side off the bowling of Vihm for 19.

Andrew Lawrence joined the young opener, who brought up another half-century prior to his partner being given out, caught behind off Setchell after launching a couple of boundaries in his score of 22.

James Heaney was next to join Bint and after the shaky start against Setchell, the middle order batter found his feet and started to make hay on the decent surface.

Heaney brought up his 50 in 30 balls after dispatching five maximums, but his innings was cut short after being adjudged as run out on 52.

Bint was out shortly after for a well compiled 63, leaving Ben Shearing and Glen Meredith with the tough task of keeping the run rate up, despite just coming in.

Nevertheless, both were up to it and got their side to 270-5 off their 50 overs, with Shearing finishing on 45 not out off 36 balls and Meredith unbeaten on 25 not out off 18 balls.

Up against a side that regular pushes the upper 200-run mark, Bucks were aware they would have to bowl well to stand any chance of defending their total.

And they did just that, with Jack Grant and Meredith hitting their straps early on.

They both regularly tested Brooke’s top order with Grant dismissing Ben Watson (4) prior to Meredith castling Vihm (0) and Grant trapping Panter (14) lbw.

The prized wicket of Gary Chirimuuta went to Meredith after the seamer made the Zimbabwean’s time at the crease tough going.

The young Buck produced an away swinging yorker that sent the stumps flying and put the visitors in a very strong position in the game, to leave Brooke on 42-4.

The change bowling of Chris Howes and Rob Austin provided no let up for the home side and even after a quick blast from Matt Collinge (27), the spinners snaffled three quick wickets to reduce Brooke even further to 78-7 at the drinks break.

At this point, victory seemed inevitable for Bucks, but an eighth-wicket stand of 161 between Habershon and Setchell left the home side within touching difference of an unlikely win.

But Howes eventually dismissed Habershon (78) and, when Lawrence accounted for Setchell (71), Brooke’s chances were ended — to leave Old Bucks with victory by 31 runs.

Tomorrow, Old Bucks host North Runcton (1pm).

n On Saturday, Old Buckenham II (180-9) lost by 17 runs at home to Martham (197-4) in Division Six.