Down two the wire!

PUBLISHED: 12:16 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

BUNTINGFORD are just two wins from the Herts & Essex League title after a comfortable win at Hockerill. With skipper Barry Walker on holiday, vice-captain Richard Pearce took over the reins. Winning the toss, Pearce decided to bat and Buntingford were so

BUNTINGFORD are just two wins from the Herts & Essex League title after a comfortable win at Hockerill.

With skipper Barry Walker on holiday, vice-captain Richard Pearce took over the reins.

Winning the toss, Pearce decided to bat and Buntingford were soon in all sorts of trouble.

With the Hockerill opening bowlers Layer and Dewey producing a great spell, Buntingford lost their first three batsman quickly to find themselves on 13-3 after eight overs.

Things got worse when Pearce was out for 12 with the score on 53, and then Scott Nash was dismissed for 27 to leave Buntingford tottering on 65-5 after 22 overs.

However, one of Buntingford's strengths these days is that they bat all the way down and the later batsman set about repairing the early damage.

Francois Dixon and Steve Paola shared a stand of 37 to take the score to 102 before Paola was out for 12 and Dixon was out for 30 to see Buntingford again in trouble on 102-7.

Colin Chambers and Steve Baker then came together and put on 43 runs to reach 145 before Baker was out for 13.

Chambers and Channa added 24 runs before Channa went for 13, and then the last pair of Chambers and Dan Duff added a further 15 invaluable runs to see Buntingford finish on 184-9 from their 45 overs, with Chambers unbeaten with a great knock of 54.

In reply, Hockerill soon lost their opening batsman Francis (0) and S Layer to some fine tight bowling from Pearce and Dixon, to see them on 6-2 after seven overs.

Francis and Trott then began a Hockerill fightback with a partnership of 66.

Dixon finished his good spell with figures of 8-1-41-1 and he was replaced by Paola, who was soon celebrating by clean bowling Trott for 27 with the score on 72.

Pearce promptly dismissed Layer for one and Tinsley was bowled by Paola for a duck to leave Hockerill on 77-5.

Pearce finished his great spell with figures of 10-3-26-2 and was replaced by Dan Duff, who maintained the good work. Francis and Hudson took the home team to 111-5 with 20 overs to go and only 74 runs needed for victory,

Hockerill were still in with a great chance but the game turned dramatically in Buntingford's favour.

First, a great catch on the boundary by Steve Baker off the bowling of Paola, saw the end of Hudson and then very quickly another fine catch by Pearce off the bowling of Duff ended the innings of Brad Francis for 52.

This left Hockerill stumbling at 115-7. With Paola bowling superbly and Duff giving nothing away at the other end, the finish of the innings was nigh.

Paola completed a memorable day by clean bowling the last three batsman to return magnificent figures of 8-0-48-6. Duff also finished with fine figures of 5-18-1. Hockerill ended the day on 133 all out.

Buntingford II completed a double for the club as they hammered Hockerill III by 242 runs.

Batting first, Buntingford lost the early wicket of Mike Townsend to a catch behind the stumps for just four.

Kev Poulton then came in to join skipper Neil Dookheran and together they put on 147 in just 18 overs, before Poulton was run out for 53.

George Wurr made a quickfire 34 before being caught and Hockerill picked up three cheap wickets in Goldie (0), Forster (1) and Rubul (15).

Sean McGrath then batted extremely well for a chanceless 73 not out while, at the other end, Dookheran reached his first century for the club with a great innings of 108 not out.

Buntingford finished their 45 overs on a challenging 314-6.

Faced with chasing this daunting target, Hockerill were always struggling. Fine bowling from Neil Atkins and Karl White saw Hockerill struggle to 24-2.

White's short spell saw him return figures of 3-1-6-2. He was replaced by Rubul, who continued the good work by taking two wickets for nine runs in his five overs.

At the other end, Atkins finished his fine spell with figures of 10-1-35-2. Wurr (4-0-15-2) and Clive Glasscock (2.1-1-5-2) wrapped up the Hockerill innings, which saw them finish on 72 all out from 24.1 overs to give Buntingford an easy win.

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