Stunning run chase keeps Buckingham on top

Jonny Cater
Jonny Cater

Buckingham Town pulled off a superb last over run chase away to Oxford on Saturday to keep them top of Division Two in the Home Counties Premier League and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Oxford won the toss and elected to bat first on a used wicket, but lost opener Shabaaz Alam in Simon Myatt’s first over.

Vishane Perera and Harry Stephens added 49 for the second wicket and looked to have seen off the opening bowlers before Stephens fell in the final over of Callum Price’s spell.

George Munsey (36) was another batsman who made a start before getting out, while wickets fell at the other end with Will Thompson removing Perera and skipper John Barrett in his first two overs.

An economical spell from James Gear, who conceded just 26 runs from 10 overs, kept a stranglehold on the scoring, as further wickets for Thompson and Jack Wilkins reduced Oxford to 208-9.

However, a frustrating last wicket partnership of 45 between Shamilal Mendis (40no) and Harvey Eltham (20no) boosted Oxford’s total up to 253-9, which included six penalty runs as Buckingham failed to bowl their overs within the allotted time.

Thompson was the pick of the bowlers having taken 4-45.

Buckingham’s reply began disastrously as Ashley Pearson, having survived a big shout for LBW from Samad Fallah’s first delivery, was given out lbw to the second ball of the innings, and that was compounded when Town’s top order was ripped open, leaving them 35-4 from nine overs and staring defeat in the face.

That soon became 52-5 and the Buckingham innings appeared in tatters when Simon Myatt joined Jonny Cater at the crease.

While Cater looked to push the singles and twos and occupy the crease, Myatt started to score more freely as he played his natural game, and between them they began to push Buckingham towards respectability.

Both batsmen were given a life by the fielders as they added 90 at five runs an over, Myatt bringing up his 50 from 61 balls.

In response, Oxford brought opening bowler Mark Beer back into the attack and he broke the partnership by dismissing Myatt for 64, but the in-form Jack Parish came in at eight and picked up where Myatt had left off.

Cater brought up his 50 (78 balls) as him and Parish shared a partnership of 55 at better than a run-a-ball to take Buckingham up to almost and 200 and make an improbable win start to seem like a real possibility.

Eltham then removed Cater, though, and that left the game delicately poised, although a mighty six from Price, with just his fifth ball, gave Town renewed impetus.

He and Parish kept up the run chase, and when they hit consecutive overs for 11 apiece, Buckingham suddenly needed just 20 from the last four overs.

Oxford had held Fallah’s last three overs back, and he returned to the attack to bowl Parish for 44 (33 balls), but it was not enough as Price (17no from 17 balls) and Thompson saw Buckingham home in the last over to seal a stunning two-wicket victory.