Gallery: Suffolk lose opening Minor Counties match of season against Lincolnshire
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Suffolk failed in their attempt to hold on for a draw, in their first Minor Counties Championship match of the season, suffering a defeat at the hands of visiting Lincolnshire by the big margin of 137 runs at the Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday.
The hosts had been second best for the bulk of the first two days, and little changed during the final day.
Resuming on their overnight score of 281 for eight, a lead of 382, Lincolnshire added a further 68 runs without loss before declaring at 349, so setting Suffolk an unlikely target of 451 for victory.
Daniel Freeman ended on 137 not out, having also top-scored with 74 in the first innings, leaving Suffolk facing a tough task to avoid defeat.
Having lost openers Tom Huggins and Nathan Poole cheaply, Martyn Cull (87) and Tom Rash (24) shared a promising third wicket stand of 77.
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But Suffolk then lost three wickets in quick succession, all off short balls delivered by Adam Shepherd, the last of them seeing the departure of Cull, with the score on 155 for five.
Simon Guy (75) and Adam Mansfield (40) briefly gave the home side hope of avoiding defeat, with a 103-run partnership for the sixth wicket, and debutant Ben Reece scored 35 during the evening session.
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Suffolk did take the game into the final hour, before Reece was the final man out, having his one of his stumps uprooted by a swift delivery from Shepherd, who ended with figures of five for 68. Suffolk were all our for 313.
Reflecting over the last three days, Suffolk skipper Huggins said: “They won the toss and batted well in the first innings. If we had won the toss, we too would have batted first, and could have set the game up completely differently.
“As it was, we stuck at it, and managed to get our full bowling points, but I think in our first innings we lost wickets at crucial times.
“Unfortunately, no one was able to support Martyn Cull (88 in the first innings), who batted brilliantly in both innings.
“We did give ourselves a chance at the start of their second innings, getting them four down for 57, and that was where the game was then won and lost for us.
“The crucial next half-hour was where Lincolnshire went on the counter-attack, and their lad (Freeman) went on to get a pretty chance-less hundred.
“It changed the whole momentum of the game, that next partnership in the afternoon (Monday). It took the game away from us.
“We had been hoping to take the last two wickets early this morning, but instead it ended with them setting us 450, which is never ideal!
“Our philosophy was to try and bat for as long as we could, and if someone managed to get in, then make sure they got a big score.
“We could have got closer, if one of us had got in and been supported, because it’s a quick scoring ground with the short boundary size.
“But again we lost wickets at crucial times, including three in one spell from Shepherd, all to the short ball which really cost us.
“But it was good to see the fight that some of the lads had. Ben Reece played well on his Championship debut. He showed a lot of fight, as did Adam Mansfield with his 40.
“It’s obviously always disappointing to lose, but there are positives going into the rest of the season,” added Huggins.