Finch stars as Suffolk turn the screw

JAMES Finch starred with bat and ball as Suffolk turned the screw on day two of their Minor Counties Championship match against Buckinghamshire at Ipswich School yesterday.

The ex-Yorkshire spinner claimed four wickets for only nine runs as Suffolk dismissed their visitors for just 96 to establish a first-innings lead of 87 runs, before top-scoring with a career-best 79 for Suffolk when they batted for a second time.

Suffolk declared on 277 for nine, setting Bucks an improbable 365 to win. That looked almost mission impossible as they finished the day on 44 for four, still 321 short of their target.

Suffolk, weather permitting, should wrap up victory at some stage today to kick-start their campaign after two draws in their opening two Championship matches.

After Suffolk were initially frustrated by a sixth-wicket stand that was extended to 43 yesterday morning, Finch almost swept away the tail single-handed as Bucks lost their final five wickets for the addition of only 15 runs inside 12 overs.

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Finch claimed the first four wickets to fall - Tom Huggins took the final one - to finish with figures of 9-5-9-4.

Suffolk had advanced to 52 in their second innings when Hassan Adnan fell to the last ball before lunch - the first of five Suffolk batsmen to be trapped leg before - and after the resumption Huggins and Martyn Cull posted another half-century stand before the latter was lbw.

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Huggins, who struck nine fours from 121 deliveries, appeared on course to post three figures until he fell to a bat-pad catch at short leg in the 39th over.

Scott Harvey failed to clear mid on and Justin Bishop and Ben France were also adjudged leg before while Chris Warn was run out backing up when Vikram Bannerjee deflected a straight drive from Finch onto the stumps.

At 183 for seven - and an overall lead of 270 - Bucks would have been still in the match had they been able to wrap up the innings quickly, but Finch banished any such thoughts as he unfurled a series of powerful strokes.

He added 42 with Phil Edwards, whose contribution was just seven, off 55 balls and a further 52 off 43 balls in harness with debutant Adam Mansfield, who was five not out when the fireworks were finished and the declaration came.

Finch’s 79 occupied just 65 balls and contained six fours and four sixes, most of his boundaries being clubbed through the leg side.

The visitors were plunged into even greater despair in the 19 overs that remained, Edwards and Matt Hunn each taking a wicket before Finch got in on the act again and then ex-Surrey batsman James Benning was caught at short leg off the final ball of the day - a decision the visitors were clearly unhappy about.

Tom Huggins said he believed the mentality of Buckinghamshire’s batsmen has helped put Suffolk in touching distance of their first Minor Counties Championship victory of the summer.

Huggins said: “Ipswich School has been a ‘result’ pitch over the last few years, which is just what we needed going into this game, assuming we are on the right end of the result!

“There is a bit of variable bounce, and it is very dry and turning a lot. It is not easy to bat on, but if you apply yourself you stand a chance of scoring runs.

“In their first innings I think their mentality meant they got it into their heads from the first ball that it was a dodgy pitch.”

Off spinner Huggins, who took two wickets yesterday and could have a key role to play with the ball today, added: “At Mildenhall in our last match you were only going to get yourself out, whereas here if you get a ball that is too good for you it is too good.”

Ivry Street scorecard


First innings (Ovdernight 39 for 5): M Payne lbw b Finch 23, J Harrison not out 21, D Cranfield-Thompson b Finch 0, V Bannerjee c Bishop b Finch 2, U Arif b Finch 0, S Stanway c Hunn b Huggins 0. Extras 34. Total (off 42.5 overs) 96.

Fall: 6-81, 7-85, 8-95, 9-95, 10-106.

Bowling: Edwards 11-6-22-3; Hunn 11-3-34-2; Bishop 6-2-16-0; Finch 9-5-9-4; Huggins 5.5-2-6-1.

Second innings: H Taj b Edwards 2, L Tomlinson c Warn b Finch 7, W Miller lbw b Hunn 0, M Payne not out 12, J Benning c Cull b Huggins 14. Extras 9. Total (for 4 wkts, off 19 overs) 44.

Fall: 1-10, 2-13, 3-17, 4-44.

Bowling: Edwards 6-5-2-1; Hunn 5-1-8-1; Finch 4-2-6-1; Huggins 4-0-20-1.


First innings: 183 (M Cull 108, U Arif 4 for 63, J Benning 4 for 66).

Second innings: T Huggins c Miller b Payne 72, H Adnan lbw b Bannerjee 19, M Cull lbw b Payne 24, S Harvey c Arif b Payne 7,

B France lbw b Payne 28, J Bishop lbw b Bannerjee 13, C Warn run out 14, J Finch lbw b Bannerjee 79, P Edwards b Payne 7, A Mansfield not out 8. Extras 6. Total (off 71.5 overs, for 9 wkts dec) 277.

Fall: 1-52, 2-105, 3-120, 4-133, 5-152, 6-168, 7-183, 8-225, 9-277.

Bowling: Arif 4-0-24-0; Benning 5-1-14-0; Stanway 10-1-30-0; Bannerjee 31.5-5-101-3; Payne 21-5-104-5.

Suffolk 5pts, Buckinghamshire 4pts.

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