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Cricket: Berkshire on T20 front foot with hard-hitting victories

Berkshire finished with three wins from four after back-to-back Unicorns Counties T20 double-headers over the Bank Holiday weekend.

After two wins over Shropshire on Sunday, Berks faced Bucks at Amersham on Mon- day, expecting another clean sweep, but it was not to be.

Put in to bat in the morning, Berks made 153-7, with the powerful Dan Lincoln smashing 50 off 33 deliveries and Chris Peploe 28 off 19, while Andy Rishton contributed 18, Joe Thomas 16 and James Morris 14.

Bucks struggled early on to stay with the asking rate but Masoor Khan (39) and Garry Park batted sensibly as the total moved on to 98-5, so still requiring 56 off the last five overs. That went down to 50 off four and 38 from three.

However, then an over from Brandon Gilmour proved costly, conceding 24 runs, leaving the hosts needing just 16 from 12 balls.

That was reduced to six off the final over and Park, with 51 off 25 balls, led his side home with two balls to spare, at 153-7.

Peploe took 3-23 and Raja 2-18, both off four overs.

In the second game, Bucks elected to bat first, but never looked comfortable against some excellent bowling from Ollie Birts (4-32), Rishton (3-30), Ali Raja (2-6 off 3.1) and Peploe (1-7 off 3) and were dismissed for just 98 in 18.1 overs.

In reply, the visitors soon lost Peploe (4), but Rishton and Richard Morris ripped into the Bucks attack, taking the score to 55-1 in five overs.

When the total reached 75 in the next over, Rishton was bowled for 50 off 30 balls.

Lincoln (5) joined Morris (38) and they raced to their target off the first ball of the 11th over for an eight-wicket win.

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Berks produced a masterclass of T20 cricket with two very impressive wins over Shropshire at Wargrave on Sunday.

The first match against Shropshire saw the hosts post 201-4 with Lincoln making 67, Rishton 46 and Peploe 41, the latter pair putting on 80 for the first wicket in nine overs, while and Lincoln and Euan Woods (17no) added 70 in five overs for the fourth wicket.

Then Woods took 3-31, Ethan Bamber 2-34, Birts 2-13 and Gilmour 1-18 as the visitors were restricted to 126-8 (Kervezee 69), leaving Berks with a 75-run victory.

In the second game, Shropshire managed only 127-7 following excellent bowling from Peploe 3-17, Raja 2-18, Birts 1-31 and Gilmour 1-1.

Berks needed just 13.1 overs to reach their target for the loss of three wickets after Rishton (51) and Peploe (36) had shared an opening stand of 69 in six overs. Lincoln (3) was stumped leaving Woods (17) and Richard Morris (15) both unbeaten.

Berks’ fielding in both games reached its usual high standard with Nugent and Lincoln taking exceptional catches on the boundary.

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Their next T20s are against Oxfordshire – beaten twice by Shropshire on Monday – on Sunday, June 3 at Falkland but, before that, Berks open their

defence of the Unicorns Trophy by hosting Cornwall at The Ora- tory School on Sunday, May 20.

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