Rain condemns Buckingham to relegation

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Buckingham Town 1st XI have been relegated from Cherwell League Division One after rain prevented any chance of a result in their final match of the season against Oxford IIs.

Town had started the season well but seven games without a win has seen them plummet down the table, eventually finishing ninth on 204 points, just 13 points behind fourth-placed Twyford in a tightly-packed division.

Knowing a victory would guarantee them Division One survival in their final game against Oxford, Buckingham lost the toss and fielded first.

Nick Hands and Luke Finch got the visitors off to a solid start with a partnership of 36 before Finch fell to Wayne Platts.

Alex Morgan joined Hands and the pair scored at five-an-over as Buckingham struggled to contain the visitors, but the introduction of Matthew Thatcher and Jack Parish slowed the run rate.

The duo took three wickets in quick succession to reduce Oxford to 99-4.

With the innings evenly poised, Tim Sutton and Naeem Baradi added 63 to put Oxford on top and, although late wickets fell, the visitors set a challenging target of 212 to win with Sutton finishing 60 not out.

Thatcher took 4-61 for Town while Platts, Parish and Gear picked up one each in Oxford’s 211-9.

The Buckingham response started well as Steve Brunning and Rob Large build a platform with a 50 partnership.

It was Adam Price who found the breakthrough, though, first dismissing Brunning for 23 and then Large for 39, before Mark Murfett followed that up by removing skipper Ashley Pearson for 17.

The game was evenly poised with 99 needed at a run-a-ball, and Andy Thatcher looked set to get going, before rain arrived.

The players did manage to return to the field but only for three eventful overs as Buckingham went all out for bonus points and lost three wickets for 20 runs.

However, further rain thwarted Buckingham’s hopes and sent the players from the field for good, condemning Town to a season in Division Two next year.