Bucks ladies celebrate unlikely win double

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IT’S not been an easy 12 months for the Bucks senior women’s cricket side, but an excellent start to the 2011 season has brought fresh hopes of a revival.

Last year saw the team compete in the ECB County Championships for the first time. But playing in the Division Five south and west league proved a struggle and they failed to win any of their 50 over games. However, having moved to Division Five east this season, the team have enjoyed a superb start, winning two of their first three matches.

In a league of four teams, Bucks have recently beaten Suffolk and Norfolk to leave them second in the table behind Leicestershire & Rutland. The league’s winners will be promoted up to Division Four – three steps below the country’s top flight of ladies cricket.

After losing to Leicestershire – who now top the table – Bucks’ first victory came against Norfolk, in a game played at Buckingham Town CC.

Put in to bat, Bucks openers Louise Verroken-Jones (35) and Charlie Voden batted well, building a partnership of 91 before Voden was bowled for a fine 48. Other players to make significant contributions to the Bucks final score of 209-7 were Cesca D’Agostino (32 not out), Claire Barrett-Mold (23) and Lorna Browne (23).

Bucks took to the field confident that they could defend their total and grab a morale-boosting first win with accurate bowling and sharp fielding – and so it proved.

Returning to her roots to play for Bucks again, Jude Turner took a wicket with her very first ball, clean bowling the Norfolk number three. And another wicket and a catch quickly followed for the team’s most experienced player.

There were three wickets for Cesca D’Agostino and two for Sophie Khaihra who took the final Norfolk wicket with the penultimate ball of the match to have Norfolk dismissed for 192, giving Bucks their first ever win in the County Championships by 17 runs.

Glowing with confidence after that success, Bucks made the trip to Bury St Edmunds to take on Suffolk in their next game on Sunday.

While the rain was pouring in Bucks and not a ball was bowled throughout the county, the ladies were delighted to see the field was playable. However, the weather always threatened to play a part in the game.

With Turner playing some textbook shots, the run rate soon increased after a slow start, with a fine partnership of 75. Turner brought up her half century and Claire Barrett-Mold (40) was also in fine form.

Both were out in quick succession and it was up to the lower order led by Laura Sandy to add to the score to give the bowlers something to bowl at, with Bucks eventually finishing on 171-8.

Following tea the conditions had deteriorated, but the umpires decided the game was still playable. Turner took two quick wickets – including a smart caught and bowled – and there were two for Carys Webster.

A sharp run out from keeper Voden followed and after Sandy took a wicket Suffolk were left on 52-6. At this point the umpires declared the ground unsafe and the players were taken off. But with Suffolk behind the required run rate, Bucks were awarded the game and with it their second win of the season.