Clarke sends Suffolk crashing to defeat

SUFFOLK lost their first match in any competition for almost two years when Cambridgeshire completed a deserved Minor Counties Championship three-day victory at Mildenhall yesterday.

By Elvin King

SUFFOLK lost their first match in any competition for almost two years when Cambridgeshire completed a deserved Minor Counties Championship three-day victory at Mildenhall yesterday.

The home side were outplayed for much of the game, although they put up a determined rearguard action in the final session of play last night.

There were just three overs left when number 11 Martin Smith was adjudged leg before to Andy Clarke, a seamer who had shown the Suffolk pace men how to get movement off the wicket.

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Clarke grabbed six wickets to send the Suffolk top end scuttling back to the pavilion and if it had not been for a 21-over ninth-wicket stand by Nick Lee and Phil Edwards, the visitors would have won far more convincingly.

It was a rude awakening for Phil Caley's Suffolk team, who last lost away to Northumberland in their final game of the 2005 campaign.

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Missing Chris Schofield from last season and coupled with the loss of their most successful seamer in last two seasons - Andrew McGarry - plus spinning all-rounder Chris Swallow, Suffolk were not the force they have come to be recognised as.

They have completed their programme of home matches, but a win at Buckinghamshire in the next game starting on Sunday week could still see them have a say in the eastern division title race. And of course they have a Lord's final in the KO Cup to come on August 27.

Clarke's heroics meant that the five-wicket star of Suffolk's first innings - Ajaz Akhtar - did not join the attack until eight wickets were down. Caley declared at his overnight score, and was expecting his Cambs opposite number Damien Brandy to give the home side a run chase.

He set attacking fields as he was not too unhappy to see runs flowing quite freely as the visitors built up a lead.

The declaration came at 2.13pm and Suffolk were set 291 to win in 64 overs, but once it was their turn to bat what had earlier appeared to be a placid wicket turned into one full of devilry.

Clarke ran in down the slope to have all the Suffolk batsmen in trouble, as wickets tumbled at regular intervals in the bright sunshine.

The first seven were either bowled or leg before, and at one time it looked as though Suffolk's lowest total against Cambs - 72 in 1991 at Bury St Edmunds - was in danger.

But after playing doggedly through to tea Paul King struck three impressive fours off former Mildenhall spinner Craig Buckham to raise the total to 78.

He was, however, ran out off the sixth ball of the same over when answering a sharp call from Nick Lee as the ball went to the left of mid-wicket.

Lee continued to show the commitment needed to fight a rearguard action and found a willing partner in the assured Edwards. This was until Lee played spinner Louis Bruce off bat and pad to silly mid-off.

Martin Smith hung around for a few overs to add to the tension, but Clarke came back to give the visitors a deserved victory.

Full marks to the ground staff at Mildenhall for getting so much play in despite the amount of rain over the last week or so.

Mildenhall scorecard

Cambridgeshire (22pts) bt Suffolk (4pts) by 143 runs.


First innings: 298 for 8 dec (Kellett 98, Brandy 51, Smith 3 for 77, Huggins 3 for 91).

Second innings

S Kellett c Warn b Edwards 78

A Burton c Smith b Edwards 43

N Ferraby not out 43

G Freear not out 8

Extras 16

Total (for 2 wkts dec, 36 overs) 188

Fall of wkts: 1-92, 2-167.

Bowling: Smith 8-1-39-0, Bishop 12-1-46-0, Edwards 7-0-44-2, King 9-0-56-0.


First innings: 196 for 8 dec (France 50, Akhtar 5 for 30).

Second innings

B France b Clarke 19

A Mawson b Clarke 8

M Cull lbw Williams 1

T Huggins b Clarke 10

N Lee c Freear b Bruce 45

C Warn lbw Brandy 1

P Caley lbw Clarke 3

J Bishop b Clarke 2

P King run out 15

P Edwards not out 34

M Smith lbw Clarke 5

Extras 4

Total (all out) 147

Fall of wkts: 1-23, 2-30, 3-34, 4-49, 5-50, 6-57, 7-59, 8-78 9-140.

Bowling: Williams 11-0-59-1, Clarke 26-10-52-6, Brandy 8-5-10-1, Buckham 5-3-16-0, Akhtar 8-6-5-0, Bruce 2-1-1-1.

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