Wales opened their NCCA One Day Trophy campaign with a thrilling two wicket victory over a spirited Buckinghamshire side at High Wycombe. A seemingly straight forward run chase turned into a nerve wracking finale as the visitors slipped from 151/3 to 185/8 in pursuit of 197 before Aneurin Norman and Tegid Phillips got them over the line with an over to spare. Norman had earlier starred with the ball taking 4/36 with Bucks indebted to a fighting rear guard from Michael Payne whose unbeaten 70 ensured they had a competitive total to defend.
Conditions were overcast when the captains went out to toss and with a healthy covering of grass on the wicket, Wales captain Sam Pearce elected to field first with the pitch expected to flatten out later in the day as the weather became warmer.
After both openers had departed within the first 11 overs, the hosts were looking to the experienced Alexei Kervezee to set them on the way to a sizeable score. It took a smart piece of glovework from wicketkeeper Cameron Herring to see the back of the former Worcestershire man as his excellent stumping standing up to the medium pace of Greg Holmes saw Kervezee depart for just 11.
Charlie Macdonnell’s departure at the hands of Andrew Gorvin left Bucks tottering at 49/4 after 18 overs. Payne and Daniel Ogden then added a determined 42 for the 5th wicket but when both the former and wicketkeeper Adam King fell within a run off each other, the home side had slumped to 92/6 and still more than 20 overs left to bat.
Payne and Cameron Parsons had taken the score to 143 when Connor Brown took a superb catch running in at deep extra cover. Payne reached a fine half century from 70 deliveries as he and Haddow added a valuable 33 with a total of 200 now looking a realistic possibility. It was the returning Norman who ended Haddow’s resistance with Hampton becoming his fourth victim in the penultimate over.
Edwards then had last man Amjaid caught by Herring from the final delivery of the innings as Buckinghamshire finished on 196 with Payne taking deserved plaudits as he left the field for a sterling effort which had given his side an avenue back into the match. Norman’s 4/36 was just rewards for a probing 10 overs while Gorvin’s 2/32 had provided vital control during the middle to end part of the innings.
Hopes were high amongst the Wales camp of chasing down 197 and Tom Bevan gave the innings a flying start with a boundary laden 43 from only 34 deliveries. He lost his opening partner Steve Reingold with the score on 20 as Kervezee pulled off a stunning one handed catch at cover from a fierce drive and Bevan then departed with the score on 53 as he attempted a ramp over the wicket keeper’s head.
Brown and Oskar Kolk added 56 in good time as the visitors continued their solid progress. After Brown went for 24, Kolk moved confidently to his half century as he continued his excellent start to the season following the century at Herefordshire. With one last throw of the dice, skipper Tom Hampton brought himself back on with just 46 required and produced a fine out swinger which took the edge of Kolk’s bat and saw him depart for 51.
Wales continued to edge closer to the winning post but their progress was continually checked by wickets falling at regular intervals. Buckinghamshire’s accurate bowling and tigerish fielding suddenly had them sensing the most unlikeliest of victories and when Gorvin fell lbw to the off spin of Payne, 12 runs were still required but with only two wickets remaining and overs starting to run on low supply.
Just three runs came from the 47th and 48th overs leaving nine more required from 12 deliveries. Tegid Phillips relieved the pressure with a four past fine leg who was up in the circle and then Norman crashed a six over mid wicket to seal victory with two wickets and one over to spare. It was an admirable effort by the home side with Hampton 3/47 and Parsons 2/33 providing whole hearted performances to almost pull the match out of the fire but Wales were able to hold their nerve and take the two points.
Wales have a week off to look forward to before hosting Bedfordshire at Lisvane on June 13th. Victory there will put the side in a strong position to advance from the group.
Photo Credits: Andy Bone (Sports Shots).