11:30AM, Saturday 14 May 2022
Berkshire bowed out of the National Counties Cricket Association’s T20 tournament - but only by the narrowest of margins after a tense day of fluctuating fortunes at Ampthill Town CC last Sunday, writes Dave Wright
They were bowled out for163 after being 110-2 with Toby Albert making 44 off 26 balls and Euan Woods 43 off 27. They then restricted their hosts to 139-5, of which Kashif Ali contributed an unbeaten 58. A second win would have left Berkshire top of the table, but it was not to be. With Kashif Ali, who has been playing for Worcestershire’s Second XI. making 65, Beds posted 193-9, four wickets falling to Andy Rishton for 30 runs. Berks were dismissed for 162, with Woods scoring 35 and Rhodri Lewis 24.
This result left three counties on 10 points, so it all went down to net run rate and Oxfordshire emerged victorious with 0.23, which was just 0.02 ahead of Bedfordshire’s and 0.22 better than Berkshire’s.
Oxfordshire will join the other group winners, Dorset, Cheshire and Cambridgeshire at National Counties T20 Finals Day at Tring Park on May 22.
Bucks finished bottom of Group 4 in the National Counties T20 Championship when they lost their final two games to Wales NC at High Wycombe on Sunday.
The results mean that Bucks lost seven of their eight matches in the competition, although two of them by very narrow margins.
In the first match of their double-header, Bucks inserted Wales and bowled them out for 161 in 19.2 overs, Morgan Bevans top-scoring for the visitors with 62, with the wickets being evenly shared by the Bucks attack.
But the hosts, despite a rapid 40 from 25 balls by Alexei Kervezee, managed only 141-9 in reply, Jason Foulkes restricting them with 3-18.
In the second game, Wales chose to bat first and rattled up 191-4 from 20 overs, after an opening stand of 143 between Tom Bevan (78) and Connor Brown (72).
In a thrilling run chase, Bucks replied with 188-3 to lose by just three runs. Conrad Louth (57no) and Eliot Callis (57) gave them a great start, but despite a sparkling unbeaten 45 from 28 balls by Ross Richardson, Bucks fell just short.
Three counties were level on points at the top of the group, with Oxfordshire going through to the semi-finals on net run rate. They will be joined by other group winners Cambridgeshire, Dorset and Cheshire on finals day at Tring Park on Sunday, May 22.
Bucks now turn their attention to the annual Nurton York Cup match against Oxfordshire to be played at Beaconsfield this Sunday. This is the first time Bucks have staged a representative game at Wilton Park for nearly 20 years.
The 50-over contest, which starts at 11am, acts as a warm-up for Bucks' forthcoming matches in the National Counties Trophy.
Bucks have brought in a number of younger players in a side which be captained by former Wocrestershire all-rounder Alexei Kervezee.
Planning permission for 200 new homes on the outskirts of Hurst have been declined by Wokingham Borough Council.