Buckingham maintain lead as IIs and IIIs are thwarted by rain

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Buckingham Town maintained their 57-point lead at the top of Cherwell League Division One despite taking only nine points from their draw against local rivals Great Brickhill.

Town won the toss and put the visitors into bat first. With both of their regular opening bowlers missing, Cameron Emerson was called up from the second team and struck in his first over, removing Michael Baker caught behind for just five.

Anton DeBeer and skipper Graeme Carter saw off the opening bowlers, adding 68 for second wicket with DeBeer making a fluent 43 before being bowled by Jack Parish.

Doug Aris (33) joined his skipper and the duo added a further 52, but two wickets in two overs for Jack Parish stalled the Brickhill innings.

However, Carter remained at the crease and brought up his 50 from 122 balls and he was given good support by George Morris (23) in a partnership of 54 from 67 balls as Great Brickhill tried to increase the run-rate, and despite losing some late wickets to the bowling of Jason Ell (2-63) and Ben Laycock (2-11), the innings closed on 227-8.

Carter was out in the final over for 91 and Jack Parish (3-75) was the pick of the bowlers.

The Buckingham run chase got off to a quick start against the Brickhill seamers, although both Ash Pearson (17) and Callum Price (25) were dismissed.

Justin Frew (35) and Simon Myatt (31) shared a stand of 58 at a run-a-ball for the third wicket and looked comfortable. When both were dismissed inside three overs in the lead up to the drinks break, however, the score was 121-4.

With dark clouds beginning to build-up around the ground, both Ben Stafford and Ben Laycock were out stumped in an attempt to increase the run-rate and wickets continued to fall as the innings slipped to 189-9.

James Gear and Jason Ell survived the last seven overs to claim a draw as Town finished on 208-9 with the rain arriving just as the last ball was bowled.

Despite picking up just nine points, results elsewhere meant Buckingham conceded only one point to their closest challengers, which gives them a comfortable 57-point lead at the top ahead of a trip to second-placed Wolverton this weekend.

In Division Three, Buckingham Town IIs’ match away at Bicester & North Oxford was tantalisingly poised when rain forced a draw. The home side batted first and made 127-8 with Megan Burton (39) top scoring before Buckingham reached 102-7 when the rain arrived.

Matthew Thatcher (35), Alex O’Dell (21) and Callum Cater (22no) were the only Buckingham batsmen to reach double figures, while Richard Simpson, Ben Clark and Graham Savin took two wickets apiece.

Town are down to eighth and this week host Shipton IIs.

After winning the toss and electing to field, Buckingham IIIs were faced with an aggressive opening Oxford duo who scored well from the first 14 overs.

M Sheehan hit a quickfire 47 before being dislodged by a good catch by wicketkeeper McDade and Town remained on top after Oxford’s rapid start with stand-in skipper Chris Coates picking up a brace.

The pick of Town’s bowlers was T Riley, who tore through the line-up with his slow left-arm spin, picking up 4-24 with an economy rate of just three as Oxford were bowled out for 181 after a rearguard from C Walia, who scored a brisk 35.

Buckingham’s opening pair looked in fine form and scored at a steady rate. T Riley was supported well by debutant Brandon Lee before being bowled three short of his half century.

Lee then took the bull by the horns and accelerated the run-rate as Buckingham attempted to chase down the target before the rain moved in.

Lee continued pressing and brought up his maiden half century, but a torrential outburst then stopped play with no hope of the final 15 overs being played. Town ended on 114-2.

Town have now abandoned five of the 11 fixtures owing to rain, but remain mid-table in Division Seven. They host Bletchley this weekend.