Super Suffolk cricketers celebrate reaching national final for first time ever
Suffolk Under-17s cricketers are celebrating after reaching a national final for the first time, writes Nick Garnham.
A 90-run victory over the Isle of Wight Cricket Board at Newclose County Cricket Ground near Newport sealed their place in the final of the Royal London Cup.
Suffolk won three of their four Group 3B games – the other was cancelled – to set up a meeting with the Group 3A winners for a place in the final.
The Suffolk squad travelled to the Isle of Wight on Saturday night, before turning in a match-winning performance the following day in a match reduced to 40 overs-per-side.
Suffolk totalled 185 for 5 in their innings, with Dan Leggett top-scoring with 63 not out and useful contributions coming from Josh Frame and Fergus Atkins, who both made 30, and Alex Oxley with 24.
Leggett, whose innings occupied 93 balls and included six fours, added 63 for the fourth wicket with skipper Atkins.
Alex Cruickshank then removed both openers, but the hosts appeared well-placed as they reached 59 for 2, before Freddie Heldreich blew away the middle order with figures of 18-3-16-4.
Atkins and Stuart Lilley both took two wickets apiece as the Isle of Wight were bowled out for just 95 in 29.2 overs.
Suffolk now face Leicestershire & Rutland in the final at Attenborough CC in Nottinghamshire on Wednesday, August 29th.
Former Suffolk batsman Andrew Squire, who coaches the Under-17s along with Doug Frame, said: “It was a really good all-round team performance.
“I have been running this age group for several years, and in all my time involved with the Under-17s this was my best day as a coach.
“It was pleasing to see Dan Leggett score some runs as he has not been in the best of form, while Freddie Heldreich was on a hat-trick at one stage.
“It is the first time we have reached the final and both teams are being put up the night before the game by the ECB.
“We are looking forward to the final and would like to think we can win it.”