6 Sep 2023

Bucks won the National (Minor) Counties Championship for the eleventh time in their history with a record-breaking victory over Devon in the title play-off at West Bromwich Dartmouth on Tuesday.
Not only was their massive margin of victory - 550 runs - a record for the Championship but their second innings score of 567 all out was their highest ever score, beating their 560-4 dec against Northumberland at High Wycombe in 2013.
It was Bucks's first title since 2009 when Bucks were skippered by Jason Harrison, now the team's head coach
Yet early in the match, a substantial Bucks victory seemed most unlikely.
After choosing to bat first, Bucks were dismissed for 185 in 55.4 overs on the first day as the ball seamed about. Ewan Cox and Aadi Sharma were joint top scorers with 35.
But Devon batters also struggled, being 99-7 at the close, and were dismissed for 118 in 60.5 overs on the second morning. Conner Haddow finished with 3-31, while Cameron Parsons returned 2-29 from 19 overs to stifle Devon.
With a first-innings lead of 67 in what looked like a low-scoring match, Bucks took complete charge of the game in the second innings as conditions eased.
After openers Cox and AJ Woodland had laid a solid platform, 17-year-old Sharma scored a magnificent century - his first for the county. With a mature choice of strokeplay, he made 115 from 153 balls with seven sixes and 18 fours, sharing a stand of 61 in nine overs with Alexei Kervezee.
Yet, astonishingly, Sharma's effort was then overshadowed by wicket-keeper Ross Richardson, who hammered 166 with seven sixes and 18 fours. He put on 108 for the fifth wicket with Ed Bragg (42) and added 92 in 18 overs with 17-year-old George Harvey, who made a fluent 61 off 71 balls in only his second Championship game.
The contest was now well beyond Devon's reach and Bucks ploughed on relentless in this four-day game. Richardson was eventually out after helping Bucks to the largest ever total, in conjunction with skipper Tom Hampton, who added 26 off 14 balls as Bucks were all out for 567.
This left Devon an impossible 635 to win a day and a half. Now demoralised after eight hours in the heat, they subsided for just 84 in 36.1 overs on the third evening.
The seamers made the breakthrough before Haddow (left) wrapped up the victory with amazing figures of 5-6 in. 10.1 overs to finish as the Championship's leading wicket-taker with 33 from five games. Scorecard
After Hampton received the Championship trophy, the celebrations could begin
Bucks's previous title wins came 1899 (shared), 1922, 1923, 1925, 1932, 1938, 1952, 1969, 1987 and 2009.