CECIL AMEY OPTICIANS
Old Buckenham (193) beat Downham Town (174)
by 19 runs
Two in-form sides clashed at the Old Buckenham Cricket Ground on Saturday, with the hosts just coming out on top to claim the spoils.
After losing the toss, Old Bucks were put into bat in what were overcast conditions.
Skipper Terry Perry andMatthew Bint opened up and started well, getting loose deliveries away to the boundary.
However, the grey skies turned to rain and after 15 minutes of play, the game was delayed momentarily by a quick rain shower.
This allowed the away side to regroup and they came out hitting their straps after the break, with Addam Todd and Robert Hooton tying down the Bucks pair.
It was the introduction of Joss Stuart that claimed the first wicket as Perry (15) knicked behind to Rob King.
The captain’s exit brought Rob Thurley to the crease and the number three found the leg-side boundary twice off new bowler Ian Harrison.
Yet, a couple of overs later the ex-Buck had his revenge and bowled Thurley (17), bringing Pentz to the crease and he continued in his predecessors’ aggressive manner.
The big South African’s innings was curtailed, though, by a brilliant catch at deep mid-off by Jack Gould, as Pentz (14) looked to dispatch the new bowler Chris Sharp.
In came James Heaney to the crease to join Bint and the pair regained some momentum for the home side.
Heaney found the boundary which spread the field and allowed the pair to run well and put on 60 in nine overs.
However, after a decent cameo of 38 from Heaney, the number five batsman picked out Todd on the square leg boundary off a short ball from Gould.
Nevertheless, the Bucks middle to lower order kept applying pressure to the away side’s bowlers.
Cameos from Andrew Lawrence (16), Glen Meredith (20) and Rob Goodwin (13) along with Bint’s innings helped drag Bucks up to 193 all out in the 50th over.
This gave the Bucks bowlers something to bowl at but was probably 50 runs short of par on what was a good wicket.
Therefore, it meant the hosts needed to start well and exert pressure on the Downham opening pair of Harrison and Alec Stuart.
But this did not come to fruition as the opening pair of Meredith and Pentz could not replicate their blistering start this week with the ball.
Pentz mainly struggled with his line, while Meredith was able to snaffle Stuart to a good catch at second slip by Ben Shearing.
He then bowled skipper Patrick Yates (4), but Harrison was starting to get away at the other end.
Perry swapped the bowling around with Chris Howes and Thurley bringing the advantage back in the home side’s favour.
Thurley removed Harrison (4) caught behind by Goodwin and both bowlers tied down Todd and Gould for the next 10 overs.
This pressure finally told after the drinks break, with Howes finally getting his man as Gould missed a straight delivery.
Tom Tansley joined Todd at the crease as Howes finished his fine spell of 10 overs 1-20, yet the introduction of Rob Austin tied the opposition down further as the leg spinner continued in the same frugal manner.
The tie was further swinging Bucks’ way when Heaney was able to pull off a run out from nowhere with a quick pick up and throw to catch Tansley short of his ground while backing up.
Todd was now running out of partners as he looked to score quicker, but Downham soon lost Duncan Lancaster (4), bowled by a returning Meredith and Stuart (14), caught smartly behind by Goodwin off the bowling of Austin.
Lawrence bowled a brilliant first over which applied pressure on new batsman Sharp and ultimately saw him ran out, again by Heaney, with Todd looking to get back on strike.
Todd eventually reached his half century, but with his team needing 10 runs an over from the last three, they ended up being bowled out 19 runs short with their main scorer ending unbeaten with an impressive 66.
Tomorrow, fourth-placed Old Bucks make the trip to face Fakenheam (1pm).
Saturday’s host sit bottom of the table, having won none of their opening three matches of the new season.