Collapses cost Bucks
Tom Helm MCCA UNICORNS CHAMPIONSHIP EASTERN DIVISION Northumberland Bucks 429 & 272-8 dec 340-9 dec & 218 BUCKINGHAMSHIRE are no longer league leaders after batting collapses cost them their 100 per cent record away to Northumberland.
Skipper Michael Payne and his team will have endured a long journey back from Jesmond, reflecting on several opportunities to gain at least a draw against their previously winless hosts, bids undermined by frailties in their middleorder.
Defeat, coupled with wins for nearest rivals Cumberland and Lincolnshire, sees Bucks drop to third in the standings.
Payne may be regretting his decision to insert the hosts on Sunday after winning the toss as, after Jonathan Burden trapped Jack Jessop LBW, early on wickets were hard to come by.
Dan Hampton’s persistence was rewarded with 5-93, but home skipper Jacques Du Toit’s 144 and 94 from Sean Tindale saw Northumberland reach an imposing 429.
Buckinghamshire hit back though with Shaan Khan (77) and Charlie Macdonnell adding 153 for the first wicket. Next man in Shelvin Gumbs then made 57 and at 227-1 the visitors looked well placed.
However, when Gumbs and Macdonell (92) fell in quick succession a collapse was triggered as Bucks slumped to 237-6, and though Payne battled on for 49 not out, the first innings deficit was 89.
A superb opening spell by Sam Helm, brother of Middlesex quick Tom, reduced Northumberland to 29-4 second time around, lifting Bucks hopes once more, but Du Toit (70) and Sameet Brar (99) led a counter-attack, which meant by the time of the hosts’ declaration at lunch on day four the target for victory was 362.
Again Khan and Macdonnell started positively – 95 at five runs an over – but once Oliver McGee had scattered the former’s stumps for 60, Bucks’ challenge disintegrated with no one in the upper middle-order making double figures.
MacDonnell’s dismissal for 63 left only wicketkeeper George Russell to try and shepherd the tail and despite his valiant 55, they could not bat out time.