Buckinghamshire's hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the National Counties Trophy hang by a thread after they suffered a seven-wicket defeat against Bedfordshire in the country house setting of Southill Park on Sunday.
This was Bucks' second defeat in two group games and means that they must beat Oxfordshire at Gerrards Cross this Sunday (11am) to have any remote chance of progressing.
After choosing to bat on a dry pitch Bucks never fully recovered from losing AJ Woodland in the first over. Conrad Louth made 28 but the other early batsman struggled against the left-arm spin of Tom Brett (2-18 off ten overs) as they slumped to 86-6 in 26 overs.
The recovery was led by Michael Payne, who with judicious placement of the ball, made 69 not out from 92 balls with just three fours. He received good support in two half-century partnerships with debutant Dom Goodman (21) and Cameron Parsons (25) as Bucks reached a competitive total of 194 all out in 49.3 overs.
Bedfordshire got off to a flying start, taking advantage of some loose bowling to race to 42-1 from six overs. They were led by Ed Ballard, whose 64 came from 84 balls with eight fours. The hosts were always well ahead of the required rate and James Kettleborough (50no) and Kashif Ali (31no) guided them home with 8.1 overs to spare.
Bucks, who were without Daniel Ogden due to a knee injury, will be hoping for better luck on Sunday.
Full scorecard HERE
Bucks's next match is at Gerrards Cross CC on sunday 27th June against Oxfordshire