Bucks pull off sensational victory to go top

Bedfordshire's George Thurstance
Bedfordshire's George Thurstance

Bucks County Cricket Club pulled off another superb victory last night when they chased down 352 in their Unicorns Championship Eastern Division match against Bedfordshire at Burnham.

Having been set 352 to win on the final day, Shelvin Gumbs struck a fabulous unbeaten century as Bucks comfortably chased down the target with eight wickets to spare. The result takes Bucks to the top with three wins from three.

Having won their opening two games, including a record-breaking victory over Hertfordshire that saw them chase down 490 on the final day, Bucks were boosted by the return of Tom Smith, who made a double century in that historic win over Herts, for Sunday’s game at Burnham.

Beds elected to bat first and they made steady progress to reach 130-3 with George Thurstance (56) top-scoring before Bucks hit back to reduce the visitors to 216-7. A flurry of late runs bolstered the total, however, with Beds eventually bowled out for 284. Matt Rance was the pick of the bowlers with 3-61 while there were two wickets each for Dan Hampton and Shaan Khan.

Bucks made a disastrous start to their reply, losing Khan for a duck to the second ball of the innings and that set the tone as wickets fell at regular intervals with only Jason Rance (42) offering any resistance in Bucks’ 163 all out.

That left Beds leading by 121 runs and they proceeded to build on their strong position with the bat as Thurstance (64) continued his fine match with another half century before Sam Johnson smashed a 51-ball 69 as Beds declared on 230-7, which left Bucks needing 352 to win on the final day.

Despite the threat of rain, Bucks produced yet another brilliant day three batting display as openers Khan and Charlie Macdonell put on 117 before Khan departed for 75.

No matter, Macdonell was joined by Gumbs and the two continued the march towards victory as they took Bucks to within 100 of the target and though Macdonell fell for 88, Gumbs completed his century from 130 balls, including 13 fours and one six, to guide his side to a memorable victory.