Narrow margin

Buxton CC spin bowler Nick Smith sends down a delivery in their match against Broadbottom.
Buxton CC spin bowler Nick Smith sends down a delivery in their match against Broadbottom.

AMRIT Singh blasted a superb 135 and Luke Smith notched 58 for Buxton 1st XI at The Park on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks once again fell agonisingly short in a run chase.

Chasing 273 for victory, after a below-par afternoon in the field, a 171-run partnership between the outstanding Singh and Smith took Buxton within touching distance, but a flurry of wickets at the back end of the innings saw visitors Broadbottom snatch the points.

In the end the defeat owed much to a lacklustre performance with the ball for Buxton. An opening stand of 76 between Walsh (38) and Barron (75) set the tone for the Broadbottom innings, and while Buxton regained some control in the middle overs, late bursts from Pratt (35 not out) and Shufflebottom (36 not out) propelled the visitors to 272-6, one of the highest scores recorded at The Park for a number of years.

Matthew Poole’s figures of 3-63 from 12 overs and Nick Smith’s 1-43 from ten overs were the most respectable on show for the Bucks, as the bowling attack struggled to fire on a hard, flat wicket, and were not helped by some profligate efforts from the Buxton fielders.

The home side’s day of misery seemed set to continue when pace bowler Jay Riley had opener Bob Marsden caught at slip off the first ball of Buxton’s innings, and then clean-bowled Julian Burgess.

Steve Knighton (29) played nicely before Roters found the edge of his bat, and at three wickets down with only 53 runs on the board the asking rate was well over seven runs per over.

Opener Smith and Singh never lost heart, and assembled a fine partnership which brought Buxton back into contention. Smith saw off Riley with ease before rotating the strike against the change bowling, providing the perfect foil for the destructive Singh, who took the aerial route and began to pick up boundaries at will.

Even after the arrival of his century, Singh continued to attack as the target was reduced to just 49 off 48 balls.

Yet Buxton lost all momentum when Smith was caught behind and Singh holed out two overs later.

The middle and lower order tried to keep up with the rate, but the game had shifted back in Broadbottom’s favour and some tight bowling at the death saw them victorious by the narrow margin of seven runs.