Bucks over 50s end season on high

Published: Thursday, 12 July 2018

The over 50s ECB team completed their season with two excellent matches away to Berkshire and Kent in early July.
Against Berkshire at Falkland, despite the early loss of Mike Taylor skipper Temoor Alam and Ian Pulsford combined to put on 113 from 17 overs as a platform for for what should have been a huge score. The normally explosive middle order did not fire and the Bucks side slipped from 159 for 2 to 170 for 6 with Alam departing for a fine 82.

Innings finishing expert George Eykyn took the opportunity to calmly work his way through the gears to end the innings with 54 not out as Bucks hosted a competitive 253 for 9 from their allotted 45 overs.
In the field, Bucks got off the best of starts with the dangerous Pitcher, Morgan, Myles and Oxley all back in the hutch for a combined total of just 3 with the score at only 18 courtesy of excellent bowling, catching and stumping efforts all around the team. The evergreen Gary Loveday then combined with O’Toole in a partnership of 164 to put the home side into a winning position before the returning Simon Stanway found some life in the wicket to induce a caught and bowled to dismiss O’Toole for 91. This opened the door for Bucks who proceeded to take 4 further wickets for just 5 runs courtesy of Stanway (4-40) and Ali Beig (3-47). A last wicket stand of 45 threatened to ruin Buckinghamshire’s day but Sharath Jetty returned to have last man McDonald caught at the wicket by Eykyn for 22 leaving Berkshire short of victory by 22 runs.
The win at Berkshire gave the Bucks team hope of progressing from the group stages for the first time in many years and on 11th July they travelled away to Kent at The Mote ground near Maidstone. This time skipper Alam lost the toss and Bucks were invited to bowl first on a very flat wicket with a large, fast outfield. The bowlers could not replicate the 18-4 scoreline from the previous week, Kent’s openers Bhoombla and Pattenden combining to put on 305 for the first wicket before a run out chance was taken with 11 balls remaining, Bhoombla departing for 163. In the final over Simon Stanway induced a false shot from Pattenden (122) to take a caught and bowled chance and the innings closed at 316 for 2.
Despite the lack of wickets, the Bucks bowlers and fielders stuck to their task well and the teatime talk was about how a positive approach when batting could well see Bucks to victory.
Pulsford and Alam started the innings off at a quick pace before a false shot from Pulsford (33) saw him depart with the score at 61 in the 7th over. Skipper Alam continued on his way towards an excellent century but along the way the spectators and Bucks players were treated to an array of shots all around the ground. A cameo of 19 from Ramzan was cut short by an LBW adjudgement, but Sharath Jetty (35 from 25 balls) and Gary Hales (59* from just 29 balls – 5 x fours and 4 x sixes) saw the Bucks side home by 7 wickets with a full 10 overs still to be bowled. Hales finished the match with a 6 out of the ground and Temoor Alam ended 141 not out (19x4, 2x6)
An exhilarating couple of weeks of high quality cricket played in excellent spirit gave Bucks an outside chance of qualification and at the time of writing they are in equal 3rd place in the table with progression to the National round of the competition to be decided by net run rate calculations.