Buckingham off to a flyer thanks to dominant opening day win

George Humphries. Pictures by Jake McNulty
George Humphries. Pictures by Jake McNulty
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Buckingham Town showed no sign of rust as they opened their 2017 Home Counties Premier League campaign with a dominant eight-wicket win over visitors Reading.

Town put their visitors into bat first and the innings started in controversial fashion. Kallan Braid-Ball was convinced he had Vincent Handley caught behind in his opening over, and the batsman appeared to start walking off, only for the decision to be given not out.

Handley didn’t last long though as in the next over he was dismissed by Callum Price before Braid-ball removed skipper Firaz Amjad in a strong start for the hosts.

A third-wicket stand of 52 steadied the Reading ship but though Jake Roberts struck a half century, wickets for spinner Nuwan Jayasena and Liam Gough left Reading wobbling on 113-4 at the drinks break.

On the resumption, Jack Parish picked up a wicket before Gough took two in an over, including Asim Zaka for 27, to reduce the visitors to 125-7.

David Williams (16) and Abid Ul Wahab (18) tried to offer some late resistance but a wicket a piece for Gough, Jayasena and George Humphries finished the innings with Reading dismissed for a below-par total of 178.

Gough was the pick of the bowlers finishing with 4-27 from his 10 overs.

Buckingham’s reply got off to a bad start when Liam Gough was run out in the first over with scoring.

That was the only early setback, however, as Leigh Tomlinson and Ash Pearson started steadily before taking control of the run chase.

Reading chopped and changed the bowling regularly, trying seven different bowlers in all, but both batsmen looked comfortable scoring plenty of boundaries as the run-rate steadily rose.

Tomlinson was first to his half century, coming off 64 balls, followed shortly by Pearson (53 balls) as they put on 150 at better than a run-a-ball.

Reading brought back opening bowler David Williams who bowled Pearson for 63 (66 balls) but that only brought Rob Large to the crease and he finished the game with a quickfire 17 from 12 balls, while Tomlinson top scored to finish 82 not out.

The win means Buckingham join Amersham, Aston Rowant and this weekend’s opponents Thame Town as the early pace-setters in HCPL Division Two.