On an overcast morning at the Alan Cooke Ground, TNT won the toss and elected to field, hoping to avoid the worst of the midday heat.
Both sides were level on points coming into the match, and a loss here would have effectively ended title aspirations.
LLL got off to a steady start, moving to 0-26 until Buck struck in the fifth over, cleaning up the stumps
of Ian Lenton (10).
Big-hitting Dave Kellerway (11) then joined Neil Culpan (62) and pushed the score along until Kellerway was bowled by Paul Lattimore trying to push the run-rate along just after the first drinks break.
But with four wickets down for 63 runs in the 12th over, LLL looked at risk of a serious batting collapse. That is, until captain Nifty Catts (18 off 61 deliveries) played a watchful innings to support Neil Culpan in a 91-run partnership before Culpan was caught by keeper Gary Carrick in the 30th over with the score on 154.
The tail crumbled soon after, and LLL were all out for 182.
With conditions noticeably warmer in the afternoon session, the TNT innings got off to a shaky start with their top three batsmen not showing any respect to the accurate bowling from LLL’s opening pace attack of Neil Culpan and Nifty Catts.
At 3-29, Ryan Dunn, the Island Furniture League’s standout batsmen so far this season, strode out to the middle looking to stabilise the innings and post another big score. But Culpan achieved the vital breakthrough, bowling Dunn early in his innings, and literally breaking middle stump in the process.
Soon after drinks, and with TNT at 5-55, LLL looked as though they had a real chance of victory if they could clean up the bottom half of the batting order quickly.
But Burger Marx (22) and Barrie Buck (74 not out) steadied the innings with a critical 45-run partnership before
Marx fell lbw in the 18th over with the score at 100.
Still needing 82 runs, Martin Hill (11) joined his captain at the crease and played another key support role, putting on a further 43 runs, while LLL made one last-ditch effort, bringing back on their strike bowlers Culpan and Catts.
But it was too little too late. Culpan was able to dismiss Hill off the last ball of his allotted overs, but Paul Lattimore remained a thorn in LLL’s side, and held down one end as Buck blasted TNT to victory in the 35th over with three wickets in hand.
TNT advance to fourth place in a tightly packed league table.