The first eleven travelled to top of the league Buxted Park, who had won all of their games so far this season, on what was hot but windy Saturday afternoon. Duncan’s run of success at the toss continued and chose to bowl first on what looked like a very good track.
The returning Alex took the new ball with Ben and they kept the Buxted openers relatively quiet and the breakthrough didn’t come until the 11th over with the score on 30 with Alex taking the first wicket. The Buxted batsmen proved difficult to displace throughout the innings and whilst they hadn’t scored particularly freely in the first half of the innings they kept their wickets in hand which allowed them a good platform to launch from in the second half. The second wicket didn’t come until the 28th over with Rohan breaking the 68 run partnership, with a bit of fortune as a full toss was clipped to Marv at square leg who held onto a brilliant catch, which may have had more to do with self-preservation than anything else! Rohan kept things tight during his 6 over spell that include four maidens only going for 13 runs. The next wicket didn’t come until the second over of Alex’s second spell in the 41st over when Alex trapper the Buxted skipper Rob Raymond for a well-made 89 with the score on 168. Then like buses having waited 13 overs for one wicket two more came at once, Alex taking a wicket with the next ball and three balls later having missed out on the hat trick meaning Buxted were 168-5 after the 41st over. That was the end of the wicket taking though for St Peter’s though and sixth wicket partnership of 52 took Buxted to 220-5 off 48 overs. Alex the pick of the bowlers ending up with figures of 15-1-67-4.
The chase probably couldn’t have got off to a worse start, Bryan calling a run that wasn’t on at the end of the first over and getting run out with a direct hit trying to get back to the bowlers end without facing a ball. Alex was out the next over before James then shouldered arms to a ball from Olive that nipped back and took out middle stump leaving the reply stuttering on 2 for 3. The Buxted bowlers had their tails up, especially Olive and it wasn’t long before they made further inroads leaving the reply in tatters at 26-5 after 7 overs. That brought together John and Neil to try and salvage something from the game and prevent a huge defeat. The pair battled bravely, John in particular not going into his shell playing some good attacking shots all around the wicket to make 43 off of 50 odd balls before succumbing to a caught and bowled chance from the young leg spinner. Neil and Simon then managed to block out another good chunk of the remaining overs between them before Simon unfortunately hit a full toss down the throat of long on which bought Kapil to the crease in his last game before going home for the remainder of the summer. They repelled anything that the Buxted bowlers threw at them and batter bravely at times with both of them wearing short pitched deliveries from the returning Olive, Kapil taking a particularly nasty hit in the ribs whilst Neil ducked, swayed and fell out the way of anything short. Kapil played some fantastically well-timed shots through the legside in his cameo of 28, fell soon after being hit leaving Ben and Neil to see out the remaining 3 overs with little cause for alarm. Neil, who had made the decision to upgrade his bat before this innings, finished on 39* off 122 balls and whilst some may mock the statistics without his stubborn resistance a first defeat of the season would have almost certainly been the likely result – one Buxted player after the game likened him to a verruca, very difficult to get rid of!
Whilst it’s wasn’t the result that Saint’s would have been looking for it’s important not to lose to those sides around the top of the table and we remain in second place, just. It’s important that we get back to winning ways and keep up the pressure on Buxted at the top until the teams meet again later in the season.