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The first round of the NCCA 3 Day Championship finished today. I spent all three days watching Bucks draw with Beds in the Eastern Division 2, at Bedford School, accompanied by @A_Worboys. A tense last hour saw Bucks fail to take the two wickets needed to win, with Beds looking comfortable at the crease.
Bucks won the toss and elected to bat, making 264 all out off 88 overs. Opener Alex Woodland scored an excellent 109, his debut century for the county, after his debut century for High Wycombe on Saturday. Alexei Kervezee, the current Bucks professional and former Worcestershire and Netherlands batsman, hit a sparkling 70 off 71 balls. At the time the score seemed a little low, after being 226-4, but the bowlers quickly ripped into the Beds top order, 3-3 and then 48-6, pace bowler Cameron Parsons taking four of the wickets. The lower order staged a recovery and took the side to 162 all out off 45 overs.
Bucks had a useful 102 run lead but collapsed in the second innings to 58-5, before a dogged 77 not out from debutant Ross Richardson, ably supported by Stephen Croft (46) and Cameron Parsons (43), saw Bucks to 242-7 declared. This set Beds an unlikely 345 to win but they batted very well, led by 86 from George Thurstance and 52 from James Kettleborough (any relation to Howard for the older fans?), and finished on 274-8.
I have to say I was disappointed that Bucks did not accelerate the scoring earlier in the second innings, to get 30 minutes or more bowling at Beds at the end of day two. That disappointment was compounded by Bucks not declaring overnight as expected, with the lead over 300. They batted on to a 344 lead, to unsettle Beds's plans I understand, but ran out of time to bowl them out.
It was a very enjoyable three days, with no rain interruptions, helped by the star of the show, the venue of Bedford School. The entire playing field was immaculately prepared, not a blade of dead grass anywhere on the many cricket pitches and surrounds. Equipment was new and expensive looking, there were 18 cricket nets in a row, groundsmen were endlessly cutting with hand mowers. This school is seriously well funded, fortunate to have wealthy backers it seems, a new, large electronic scoreboard donated by a supporter was one example. Lucky students, I know how state schools struggle financially. The pavilion was eye catching, unusual with its terraced seating. I tweeted some photos.
Full scorecard: https://buckscricket.play-cricket.com/website/results/4653310
The next three day game for Bucks is against Herts at Tring Park on 1, 2, 3 August, well worth coming to see.