Buxton Cricket Club celebrate their most successful season ever
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Pride of place goes to the seconds, who beat Whittington Wanderers 1sts by seven wickets. Their success stands alongside the 3rds winning Division 9 North, the Women's Hardball 1st team winning the Cheshire Women's League Division 3 and the U15s winning the Derbyshire Dales league.
Frustratingly the first team were unable to finish the season on a winning note. Promoted last season to Division 3 North, Buxton had done well throughout the season.
On Saturday they had to win against Quarndon 2nd XI to secure top place and promotion but were defeated by 60 runs. On a soft wicket the wickets were shared by the bowlers as Quarndon were bowled out for 148 off 38 overs. In reply the batting weaknesses that have characterised the last few matches of the season were evident again, with only captain Andrew Slater's 31 giving Quarndon any worries. Buxton were all out for 88 off 27.5 overs and will be bitterly disappointed to miss out on promotion but can look forward to next season with real confidence.
A nervous Buxton 2nd team played host to Whittington Wanderers knowing that only victory would guarantee them promotion and give them a chance of the League title. Buxton won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first. Although wickets were hard to come by, the Buxton attack contained their opposition so effectively that only 43 runs had been scored by the drinks interval. Although Whittington showed greater intent in the second half of their innings, with Bill Smith’s 60 the biggest contribution, a total of 133-4 was always going to be at least 40 below par. Chris Simcox, Phil Slater and Jacob Blackwell took the wickets in an excellent all-round bowling and fielding performance.
The home response began anxiously, with Joe Bagshaw yorked by the impressive Craig Redford-Eyre in the third over and Dave Belfield chipping the same bowler to mid-wicket shortly afterwards.
The home nerves were then settled by a match-winning partnership of 89 between in-form Mark Ainsley and Matthew Poole, the latter departing to a smart slip catch for 34 with just 32 runs required.
Skipper Tim Budd joined Ainsley, who fittingly struck the winning runs to finish undefeated on 66. Although results elsewhere denied them the title, Buxton richly deserved their promotion having gone through the season with only a single defeat
Following an undeserved relegation last year, Buxton 2’s began 2023 determined to bounce straight back. This was achieved despite three other teams in the division being similarly focussed - at the end of the season there was a 120-point gap between third and fifth.
Buxton’s success was founded on having comfortably the strongest bowling side in the division - the pace of Lucas Tattersall, Jacob Blackwell and Tom Blakeman complemented by Chris Simcox’ ever-threatening inswing and the control and guile of Will Annison and the division’s leading bowler, Phil Slater.
There were also important contributions from Kian Wilson, before injury sadly ended his season, Chris Hazelhurst and Joel Sanchez. With the bat, the top three of Matt Poole, Joe Bagshaw and Mark Ainsley all scored heavily with Dave Belfield making a huge contribution in the second half of the season, his average of 56 also including the top score in the division this year (140*).
And when the top order failed, all-rounders Blackwell, Blakeman and Annison could also be relied upon for runs and there were important contributions along the way from Wilson, Tom Griffin, Alfie Bunting, Joel Dowland and Bob Marsden.
Buxton finished the season 19 points off the top of the table, having lost two more games to the weather - rarely has a promotion been more richly deserved.