Beds chase down 312 in thrilling run chase

BEDFORDSHIRE’S chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the MCCA Trophy are still very much alive after a thrilling run chase against Oxfordshire at Banbury on Sunday.

Set a target of 312, Beds got home by three wickets with three balls to spare.

It was a remarkable game in many ways with Oxfordshire opener Richard Kaufman scoring 170 from 143 balls and still finishing on the losing side. His knock made up the lion’s share of the first 270 runs scored by Oxfordshire, before hitting Andy Reynoldson to Oliver Clayson.

Other than Kaufman’s knock Chris Watling made 46 and only two other players got past 20.

Reynoldson was Bedfordshire’s most successful bowler with 3-58 and Will Sneath again bowled admirably to take 2-37 from nine overs as Oxfordsire made 311-8.

After the aggressive Dan Simpson had gone for 15, Rob Keogh and Reynoldson kept the Bedfordshire score ticking over without taking any undue risks in a partnership of 110, which ended when Reynoldson was caught for 47.

This saw Steve Stubbings come to the crease and the former Derbyshire batsman took the Oxfordshire attack by the scruff of the neck.

Keogh eventually holed out for a classy 78 and the the runs really began to flow when Clayson joined Stubbings.

But with 10 overs to go, Beds still needed more than 100 and, when both batsmen were run out by throws from the boundary going for second runs – Clayson first for 44 and Stubbings for a brilliant 65 – the visitors’ chances looked slim.

The pressure though got to 16-year-old Oxfordshire bowler Matt Taylor, who sent down a flurry of wides and, although Oliver Swann was stumped off one, leaving Beds on 271-6, another went for four followed by four leg-byes after just flicking the pad straps.

George Arblaster and Colin Griggs then steered Beds home to victory as they reached 312-7.

Herefordshire are definitely through from Beds’ group, while the other qualifying place is up for grabs with Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire all having won one game.

Oxfordshire, though, have only one game left – against Hertfordshire who, like Bedfordshire still have two to play.

There are no games this weekend and Bedfordshire’s next match is against Dorset, who are out of the running having lost all of their three games, at Dunstable on May 29.

Scores: Oxfordshire 311-8. Bedfordshire 312-7