National Counties Cricket Association

National Counties Cricket Association

Durant Cricket National Counties Championship Final - Preview

01 September 2023
Durant Cricket National Counties Championship Final - Preview

Buckinghamshire will be in familiar surroundings when they face Devon in the Durant Cricket National Counties Championship final at West Bromwich Dartmouth starting on Sunday. 

While Devon will be making their first-ever visit to Sandwell Park, Buckinghamshire were there only six weeks ago when they beat hosts Staffordshire by eight wickets on their way to winning Eastern Division One and booking their place in the four-day final. 

Buckinghamshire enjoyed not just the result but also the hospitality of the host club and they appreciated the hard work that the army of volunteers put in to staging the match so successfully during a period of wet weather. 

“The club were brilliant. It was during that really wet period when lots of sides were not playing and West Bromwich Dartmouth and their groundsman were brilliant at getting the game on,” said Buckinghamshire captain Tom Hampton. 

“The wicket played pretty well and the club themselves were brilliant at hosting. It’s a lovely club and although it was only one game, having that little bit of familiarity and having memories of having success there might be one of those one per cent-ers.” 

The Staffordshire win was Buckinghamshire’s second in a row following their promotion as Eastern Division Two champions 12 months ago but they were frustrated by rain when well-placed against Lincolnshire at Chesham in their next match and then beaten by 115 runs by Suffolk last week. 

Buckinghamshire had already secured sufficient bonus points on the first day of the Suffolk match to guarantee themselves in a place in the final but Hampton hopes that the defeat, after they had enjoyed a first innings lead of 115, will ensure there is no complacency against Devon. 

“We are extremely pleased to be in the final but it was a little bit disappointing the way we finished the Suffolk game,” Hampton said. 

“Once we got the bonus points we needed maybe a few lads took their off their eye off the ball a little bit and Suffolk played very well on the last day, put us under pressure and beat us. 

“There are two ways of looking at it. It would have been nice not to have lost that game and carried that momentum that we have had over the last couple of years forward. 

“The flip side is that when you do have to work so hard, especially in three-day cricket and with only four games, to grab that top spot is tough. 

“Maybe we did take our foot off the gas a little bit and it does show that in cricket if you do that it tends to come back to get you. 

“Hopefully it was a bit of a kick up the backside and a reminder that we do have to play at the right intensity for the full four days. 

“But we everyone is massively excited to be in the final and we will give it a good go hopefully.” 

Each side will be one experienced player down on Sunday with Devon missing wicketkeeper/batter Matt Thompson because of a pre-arranged holiday. 

James Horler will keep wicket in Thompson’s absence with top order batter Max Finzel in line for his competitive debut having been introduced in the Showcase match against Somerset at Bovey Tracey. 

Batter Finn Hill, a 17-year-old who is on Somerset’s Academy, is recalled in place of leg-spinner Will Christophers having played in the first two Championship matches of the campaign against Berkshire and Oxfordshire.  

Buckinghamshire are without all-rounder Michael Payne – the sole survivor from their last Championship final appearance in 2012 - who is getting married on the third day of the final. 

“Michael is getting married on Tuesday. It’s a big day for him but a shame for us,” Hampton said. 

“He did keep it quiet because he didn’t want it to take away from us trying to get to the final. Once we had done that he did tell us that he was pre-engaged. 

“He did say that he would have asked a few of the lads to the wedding but he didn’t want to put pressure on anyone.” 

Wicketkeeper Ross Richardson, who equalled the county record of seven catches in an innings against Staffordshire, returns for Buckinghamshire having been unavailable against Suffolk. 

In Richardson’s absence 17-year-old George Harvey impressed with four catches in Suffolk’s first innings and scores of 92 and 41 not out. 

Harvey has kept his place in the squad for the final and is likely to play in Payne’s absence having made a century for Buckinghamshire’s Under-18s against Oxfordshire earlier in the week. 

Northamptonshire Academy batter Aadi Sharma, whose only Championship appearance came last season, is also included in a 13-man squad. 

Buckinghamshire will be attempting to become the first Eastern Division side to win the Championship since 2015 when Cumberland - now Cumbria – beat Oxfordshire. 

Since the title has stayed in the Western Division with Berkshire winning it four seasons running between 2016 and 2019 and again in 2022 after Oxfordshire beat Suffolk in the 2021 final. 

Admission to the Durant Cricket National Counties Championship final at West Bromwich Dartmouth from September 3-6 is free. Play starts at 10.30am each day. 

Buckinghamshire (from): Tom Hampton (C), Alex Woodland, Ewan Cox, Chris Marrow, Aadi Sharma, Alexei Kervezee, Ross Richardson, Ed Bragg, George Harvey, Cameron Parsons, Teddy Fleming, Conner Haddow, Tom Weymes. 

Devon (from): Jamie Stephens (C), Max Finzel, James Horler, Elliot Hamilton Ben Privett, Calum Haggett, Ben Beaumont, Fin Hill, Sam Read, Matt Skeemer, Max Shepherd, Kaz Szymanski. 

Previous Championship final appearances 


1899: Title shared with Northamptonshire. No final. 

1922 Beat Norfolk by eight runs at Lakenham 

1923 Beat Surrey Second XI by 242 runs at High Wycombe 

1925 Beat Northumberland by 157 runs at Jesmond 

1929 Lost to Oxfordshire by ten wickets at Merton College, Oxford 

1932 Beat Berkshire by better record in qualifying after drawn final at High Wycombe 

1938 Beat Lancashire Second XI by an innings and 25 runs at High Wycombe 

1946 Lost to Suffolk by 70 runs at High Wycombe 

1952 Beat Kent Second XI by 109 runs at High Wycombe 

1969 Won Championship. No final 

1983 Lost to Hertfordshire by two wickets at Worcester 

1987 Beat Cambridgeshire by losing fewer wickets at Worcester 

2006 Lost to Devon by 180 runs at Exmouth 

2009 Beat Cheshire by 117 runs at Slough 

2012 Lost to Cornwall by 150 runs at Truro 



1954 Lost to Surrey Second XI by inferior qualifying record after drawn final at The Oval 

1978 Beat Durham by better record in qualifying after drawn final at Exeter 

1992 Lost to Staffordshire by 79 runs at Worcester 

1994 Beat Cambridgeshire on superior bonus points at Worcester 

1995 Beat Lincolnshire by 57 runs at Worcester 

1996 Beat Norfolk by 158 runs at Exmouth 

1997 Beat Bedfordshire on superior run rate at Luton 

2003 Lost to Lincolnshire by eight wickets at Cleethorpes 

2004 Drew with Bedfordshire at Exmouth 

2006 Beat Buckinghamshire by 180 runs at Exmouth 

2011 Beat Cambridgeshire by 169 runs at March 


Our Partners

Durant Cricket
Teamo - Club Management Made Simple
Mansfield Sports Group
Durant Cricket
Teamo - Club Management Made Simple
Mansfield Sports Group
members nameclub role
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thanks for your message!

We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.