02:00PM, Thursday 05 September 2019
Conner Haddow. Credit: SportsShots.org.uk
Bucks completed a disappointing Unicorns Counties Championship campaign by suffering a seven-wicket defeat against Cumberland at Tring Park on Tuesday.
The result means that Bucks will finish seventh in the Eastern Division table and so will now play in Eastern Division 2 in next season's restructured competition. They will be joined in the five-strong position by Cumberland, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northumberland.
Bucks were on the back foot after Cumberland won the toss and amassed 360-8 from their 90 overs in the first innings.
Gary Pratt, famous for running out Ricky Ponting as a substitute England fielder in the 2009 Ashes series, led the way with a brilliant 111 from 128 balls with a six and 15 fours on the flat track. Michael Slack gave him good support with 86.
Harefield seamer Jordan McLeod, on his Championship debut, returned 2-35 from 17 overs.
Bucks, who lost this season's leading runs scorer AJ Woodland after he injured his ankle in the pre-match warm-up, made only 204 in reply with no batsman reaching 40.
After they were asked to follow on, Bucks fared better second time around. At the close of the second day, they were 152-2, just four runs behind.
Makeshift opener Dan Marles led the way with a studied 91 from 197 balls, before falling on the third morning, leaving Bucks without a Championship century this season.
His dismissal led to a collapse, which saw the last eight wickets fall for 88 runs as they were dismissed before lunch for 269.
Cumberland left-arm spinner Toby Bulcock took 6-96 for a match return of 10-164.
Set 114 for victory, Cumberland completed the job for the loss of three wickets just after 3pm on the final day.
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