Take that! Buntingford find it tough at the top

BUNTINGFORD S title chances took a knock as they lost their top-of-the-table clash against Takeley. With Buntingford in second place and Takeley third, it looked like being a very tight game. And so it proved, with the game going to the wire in a nailbi

BUNTINGFORD'S title chances took a knock as they lost their top-of-the-table clash against Takeley.

With Buntingford in second place and Takeley third, it looked like being a very tight game.

And so it proved, with the game going to the wire in a nailbiting finish, on Saturday.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Buntingford had an immediate setback when John Clements was bowled first ball. Scott Nash followed soon after for 10 and things did not good for the home side.

Buntingford got back on track with a steady stand between Martin Coote (43) and Richard Pearce (47).

When they both departed, Francois Dixon and Chris Chambers carried on the good work. After establishing themselves, both batsman upped the pace and produced 69 runs in the last five overs.

Most Read

Dixon was particularly severe on the bowlers, smashing five sixes and four fours before he was eventually run out off the last ball for a fine 73. With Chambers unbeaten on 36, Buntingford finished on a reasonable 213-5.

In reply, Takeley were grateful for some catches being spilled in their pursuit of 214.

Top scorer Gillard (61) was dropped three times and despite Andy Nash taking two fine catches and Dixon holding on to another three, Buntingford managed to drop a total of seven chances.

Takeley started to inch their way to the target required. Steve Paola then produced a great spell of bowling to return figures of 40-4 from his 10 overs and drag the home side back into the game.

With Dan Duff weighing in with two wickets, things were beginning to look very tight.

With the finish in sight, the visitors were 193-8, still needing 21 runs from 2.3 overs to win and Buntingford looked to have a great chance.

However, the pressure appeared to affect Buntingford and a combination of overthrows and two dropped catches left Takeley needing just five runs from the last over.

Duff's then bowled Osbourne to leave Takeley nine wickets down, still needing four runs to wins.

In this tense situation, Trott kept his head and hit the third ball of the over to the boundary to give Takeley victory by just one wicket.

With league leaders Rickling Ramblers losing on Saturday, things are tight at the top of the table, with three or four teams in with a chance of becoming champions.

There was better news for Buntingford II as they returned from Roding Valley with a comfortable victory.

Put in to bat, Buntingford lost the early wicket of Stuart Calder to an unfortunate run out but, after that, colt Mike Townsend and Colin Chambers set about building a solid start.

With Townsend providing the anchor role, Chambers started to hit the ball hard to all parts of the field. When he was caught for 49 the score had raced to 76 from just 12 overs.

Sean McGrath then came to the crease and despite losing Townsend (17), Wurr (5) and Goldie (1) in quick succession, he settled in to play a chanceless innings.

He was assisted greatly by Dennis Hampton and they put together a stand of 88 before Hampton was out for a fine 49, leaving Buntingford on 190-6.

McGrath was out soon after for 45, but with Rubel (18) and Glasscock (14) adding some more runs, Buntingford reached a challenging score of 253 all out with two overs remaining from their allotted 45.

In reply, Roding Valley were soon in trouble, with their opener Roberts losing his middle stump in the first over to Rubel.

With both Rubel and Atkins bowling tightly, runs were proving hard to come by. After five overs from Atkins, Chambers was brought into the attack and he proved just as hard to get away.

Wickets started to fall at regular intervals and it was soon apparent Roding were chasing a hopeless cause. Rubel finished his 10 overs with figures of 21-3.

He was replaced by Glasscock, who carried on the good work with 24-1 from eight overs. Chambers ended with 10-1-38-2 and Atkins came back to polish off the innings and return figures of 8.1-2-21-2 to leave Roding all out for just 107

On Sunday, Buntingford visited neighbours Aspenden, Standon & Puckeridge for a 40-over friendly game.

Batting first, Buntingford put together a score of 240-7

The main contributors were Francois Dixon, who hit a swashbuckling 59 in quick time, and Izuru Channa, who put together an even harder hitting innings of 71 not out which contained 11 boundaries.

In reply, Aspenden were soon in trouble, losing four wickets for 45 runs. The first three of these wickets fell to Neil Atkins, who returned the great figures of 4-1-11-3.

With Aspenden tottering, Potter decided to pull things round with some big hitting.

Powering the ball to all parts of the ground (and regularly out of the ground), he reached his century after just 26 overs and with the help of the tailenders took the score to more than 200 after just 34 overs.

Although he tried to farm the strike as much as possible, one by one the batsman were winkled out.

With the score on 216-9 and Potter still there on 154 (10 sixes and 15 fours) and still more than 12 overs remaining, anything looked possible and the Buntingford team looked worried.

However, Potter went for another huge hit and young colt Chris Jordan took a brilliant catch just inside the boundary to give Buntingford victory by 24 runs.