Two rearguard innings from Chesham teenager Matt Rance helped Bucks scramble a draw in their Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division match against Cumberland at Marlow this week.
Rance, picked primarily at as off-spinner, made a fighting half-century when Bucks were in trouble in the first innings, and on the final day (Tuesday) showed strong resistance to help Bucks hang on for a draw.
Despite losing two early wickets on the first morning after choosing to bat, Cumberland dominated the match, recovering to make 350-9 in the first innings. This was due a magnificent 169 from opener Neil Longhurst, who was out three runs short of the county record.
Cumberland’s seamers extracted more from a slow pitch than Bucks had done, and the home county were in big trouble when slipping to 127-7 in reply.
However, Rance made a fluent 69 with 11 fours, and with support from skipper Jason Harrison and Shaftab Khalid, lifted Bucks to 253.
Bucks’ hopes were raised when Cumberland, with a 97-run first-innings lead, lost three wickets for five runs to Doug King at the start of their second innings.
However, an unbeaten century from Logan Weston helped the visitors to declare at 220-6 and set Bucks 318 for victory from 69 overs.
Again the Bucks top order failed and at 96-6 with plenty of time left, they were staring defeat in the face.
However, Rance dug in making 20 not out from 101 balls and Khalid again gave good support as Bucks held on for a draw at 170-8.