Heavy rain over the last two days affected the ground condition despite good covering for the square and wickets including the Sunday Berkshire county match. With the ground itself saturated overnight delays were inevitable. Eventually play did not start until 2 pm with a reduced 43 to 35 overs match.
Losing the toss Finches were asked to bat first. They could not have started worse as two wickets were down and only 4 runs on the board. Ryan Bone was caught in the slips then Greg Smith was bowled. Ollie Soames and Billy Rogers set about a recovery but at 39 and the ninth over Ollie was caught at short leg off spinner Rathwayka.
This was the start of an unbroken 15 overs spell for the fine spinner Rathwayka. He dismissed Billy Rogers caught behind for 29 then Dan Lincoln fell for 26 this time off Jon Parish. Then at 103 the sixth fell as Toby Albert was caught off Rathwayka. So with only 27 overs gone it was trouble for Finches. The spinner had now taken full control as he dismissed the last four batsmen. Finches were all out for 131 in 37 overs.
The spinner Rathwayka returned 7 – 46 in an excellent spell of bowling. His efforts as well as fragile Finches batting meant Buckingham were given 41 overs to gain the score.
It was now the turn of Finches to start well. Spinners James Woodford and Billy Rogers dismissed openers Brunning and Hulbert with 24 on the board. When paceman Connor Corlet came on down the hill his pace accounted for Jonny Cater bowled at 57 and 18 overs bowled. This key wicket inspired Finches as eleven runs later five more wickets fell leaving Buckingham in tatters at 68 – 8. First to go was Rob Large caught off Woodford. Then a brilliant throw by Ollie Soames at gully ran out Lee Tomlinson for 23.
The next three wickets were all to Connor Corlet two bowled and the other LBW. The visitors with 19 overs remaining fought well in a rearguard action. Led by Rathwayka and John Deal the pair saw the score to 112. Then Rathwayka was well caught in the slips off seamer Zak Jones. With seven more overs left the last pair edged nearer with a vital 13 runs but with two overs remaining and 125 on the board George Humphries was trapped LBW by Zak Jones. So a remarkable six run win with a tense finish.
The welcome win saw Connor Corlet take 4 – 44 with two apiece for James Woodford and Zak Jones.
The Seconds in division 2B of the Thames Valley League visited Thatcham Town Firsts. They totalled 179 batting first. Leading the batters were Matt Eldridge 55 and Tommie Predgen 45. In a fine match with close finish Thatcham ended on 174 – 8 for the draw. The bowling was led by Andy Lazenbury with 4 – 48.
The Thirds hosted Cove Seconds on the leas in division 3A. Visitors Cove were dismissed for 136 the modest total assisted by spinners Matt Harper 4 – 40 and Ben Cole 3 – 53. Finches easily passed the score at 137 – 1 for a comfortable win. An unbroken stand saw Finches home with Ed Oliver 61 not out and Richard Reed 54 not out. The matches for the Fourths and Fifths were called off.
REPORT BY NEIL DOODY
Updated 17:52 - 25 Jul 2019 by Kwame Appiah