Banbury Robbed of Wycombe Win

The heroics displayed by Kiwi all-rounder Ant Bullick (5-76 & 67*) at High Wycombe were not rewarded with 25 points for Banbury after under pressure umpires inexplicably led players from the field with Banbury just 22 runs from victory and play 4 overs from the close. The reason given was ‘bad light’, it was however the first time the umpires had got together to discuss the light on a day where there had been gloomy playing conditions from start to finish. What had changed was not the light available to the Umpires eyes but the sound in their ears, which had gone from appeals and celebrations from the High Wycombe players, to the complaints and moaning of cowards scared of defeat.

High Wycombe had made a searing start to the mornings play, under heavy clouds and the occasional showers. Despite losing captain Eyles, LBW to Faruq, for 0 they raced to 135 – 3 at lunch with the experienced Paul Sawyer and Surrey’s James Benning beginning to build a platform. It had not been plain sailing for the Bucks outfit, Bullick and Blanchard had looked menacing at times, and chances had been missed, but the situation looked ominous for the visitors.

After lunch Banbury bowled with better discipline, and a period of pressure from Buillick and Faruq was rewarded as the big Kiwi removed first Benning and then teenager Birkby in successive overs. Wycombe regrouped however as Banbury’s seamers tired and Sawyer found a new partner in fellow lefthander Cranfield-Thompson. The pair added 50 before both, and ex-Glamorgan all-rounder Keith Newell, were removed by Jimmy Phillips. Bullick returned to mop up the tail and complete his 5 wicket haul in his 18th over, another great effort from him. Wycombe who looked set to post a score in excess had to settle for 241.

After Ian Tew fell early to an in-swinger from Left-Armer Paul Sawyer, Craig Haupt and Damian Shirazi put on 50 for the second wicket. A mini collapse followed however and the pair fell in successive overs and were soon followed by Hole (1, run out) and Ali (9, caught at slip). 102-5.

This brought all-rounders Bullick and Blanchard to the crease and, amid rain breaks that saw the extra overs Banbury had won for Bowling High Wycombe out washed away, the pair put together an excellent partnership. Both batted very well, hitting 4’s and 6’s, it is hard to believe that it was Blanchard’s 2nd game in premier league cricket.

During this partnership the light was gloomy, you would not have played test cricket in it, but this was a club match and both sides felt they could win and play continued. With the light at probably it worst point it would reach in the game, Blanchard fell to a leading edge. This brought Ian Hawtin to the crease, the thought of appealing for the light did not enter the Banbury captain’s mind as he chased the win. Hawtin soon edged a flashing drive off seamer James Benning and Paul Sawyer, obviously seeing the ball well, took a very sharp catch low down at second slip. 167-7, and Wycombe closing in the gloom.

Jamil Faruq joined Bullick, the pair did not appeal against the light, but continued to chase victory. There was a short shower which took the players from the field for a minute, but play soon resumed with the light improved from what it had been when Blanchard and Hawtin had been dismissed. Bullick and Faruq began striking regular boundaries and as the pair closed in on victory, needing less than 30 to win, the Wycombe players tried their luck with the umpires complaining that it was too dark for them to field. To the amazement of the Wycombe supporters the umpires folded completely to these complaints, unable to deal with the pressure put on them, and led the players from the field in light better than it had been half an hour before. Banbury, who need just 22 runs for victory in the 4 remaining overs, were understandably incensed.

In my 10 years of playing in the Home Counties Premier League I have never seen such appallingly weak umpiring. I feel no regret in the frankness of this report, as I calmly told the umpires to their face what I thought of them.

Scorecard courtesy of Rod Clarke

Innings of High Wycombe  

M.Eyles    *                  L.B.W.                         J.Faruq             0

N.Fehgal                       Bowled                        A.Blanchard     48

N.Robinson                   Bowled                         A.Bullick          25

P.Sawyer                      ct.I.Hawtin                   J.Phillips           60

J.Benning                      L.B.W.                         A.Bullick          31

A.Birkby                       L.B.W.                         A.Bullick          3

D.Cranfield-Thompson  Bowled                         J.Phillips           37

K.Newell                      C & B                          J.Phillips           10

A.Croft                         C & B                          A.Bullick          8

S.Bird                           Not Out                                              3

A.Downing                   ct.J.Phillips                    A.Bullick          4

                        Extras:              b-3,lb-1, nb-3, w-5.                    12

                        TOTAL               55  overs     10   wickets         241

f.o.w.    1-13, 2-60, 3-100, 4-145, 5-149, 6-199, 7-224, 8-227, 9-237.

Bowling of Banbury

A.Bullick  18-3-76-5,  J.Faruq  12-3-61-1,  A.Blanchard  8-1-33-1,

D.Shirazi  3-1-12-0, P.Hill  7-0-34-0, J.Phillips 7-2-21-3.


Innings of Banbury

D.Shirazi                       Bowled                        A.Downing       22

I.Tew                           L.B.W.                         P.Sawyer          5

C.Haupt                        ct.A.Birkby                   J.Denning         55

S.Hole                          Run Out                                                1

S.Ali                             ct.M.Eyles                    P.Sawyer          9

A.Bullick                      Not Out                                               67

A.Blanchard                 ct.P.Sawyer                  J.Benning          36

I.Hawtin              * +    ct.P.Sawyer                  J.Benning          0

J.Faruq                         Not Out                                                19

P.Hill                            dnb

J.Phillips                       dnb

                        Extras:              b-0, lb-3, nb-4.                           7

                        TOTAL           45  overs           7  wickets         221

f.o.w.    1-4, 2-54, 3-55, 4-55, 5-102, 6-165, 7-168.                                 

Bowling of High Wycombe

J.Benning 12-1-63-3, P.Sawyer  12-0-53-2, A.Downing 13-4-50-1,

A.Birkby  3-0-14-0,A.Croft  5-0-38-0

Matched drawn, Banbury needed 22 from 4 overs

High Wycombe 13 points Banbury 11

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