CRICKET: Old Buckenham prove to be happy wanderers

On a very windy and cool summer's day, Old Bucks made the long journey to the north Norfolk area to play newly-merged Ashmanuagh & Barton Wanderers.

On arrival the pitch was very stereotypical of the current summer's pitches, soft and green. It was then no surprise that Wanderers skipper Ali Ponder elected to bowl when Perry guessed wrong at the toss.

However, from the start, Donovan and Perry, opening due to Banham's unavailability, played Wanderers' tall South African pace bowler Puchet sensibly in their stand of 85, Buck's first half century opening partnership of the season.

However, the Aussie was out, bowled Beeden (1-12) trying to launch the leg spin bowler into the nearby village. J Alexander (13) and Perry (48) continued the good work until Perry was bowled by Jackson (2-42) trying to bring up his half century with an uncharacteristic sweep shot, when the score was on 115 in the 33rd over.

Bucks went from two to four wickets down in the space of four overs – Heaney (0) was run out by a direct hit by Beeden, when called through by Alexander, then Alexander was adjudged lbw to Jackson, leaving Bucks 125-4 off 37 overs. Bucks, in previous campaigns, would have collapsed or failed to build from their position, but the current generation, in conjunction with the senior members of the team, have shown greater grit this year, exhibited by number 11 T Alexander's 17 not out in the previous weekend's league game versus Diss. This time it was the turn of all-rounders Lawrence (41) and Mann (36), smashing a partnership of 75 in 10 overs, even after the first four overs of the stand leaked only eight runs. Both hard-hitting batsmen hit numerous boundaries and a six each, Mann going first when the score was on 190, hitting a full toss to the deep mid-wicket boundary off the bowling of Metcalf.

Hay (18no) then joined Lawrence to put a further 28 in the last three overs, Lawrence falling off the last ball of the innings when trying to launch Metcalf over the boundary to add to Bucks' score of 218-6 off their 50 overs.

With a good score on the board and four batting points already secured, Bucks set off to bowl out Wanderers and secure an outright victory and 24 crucial points. But their opposition had other ideas; openers Ponder and Puchett put on 46 runs and played out good opening spells from Lawrence and Hay. However, when senior player, R Austin entered the fray this all changed when he bamboozled both batsmen with his leg spin, removing both batters lbw.

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Austin (5-27) was later reintroduced and removed three wickets before opening bowler Hay (2-29) polished it off.

n Old Buckenham hosted Hardingham in the quarter-final of Lady Mary Trophy.

All the Buck's bowlers produced extremely tight spells and took wickets regularly to restrict Hardingham to 124-7 off their allotted 40 overs.

Old Buckenham completed their run chase in the 23rd over. James Alexander top scored for Old Buckenham with 31.