King just misses out on century

A RECORD county eighth-wicket stand of 124 was the highlight of the third and final day of Suffolk's opening Minor Counties Championship match of the season against Norfolk at Mildenhall yesterday.

A RECORD county eighth-wicket stand of 124 was the highlight of the third and final day of Suffolk's opening Minor Counties Championship match of the season against Norfolk at Mildenhall yesterday.

The two teams were unable to conjure up a positive result as the rain had the final say and stumps were drawn early with Norfolk 96 without loss in their second innings - still 14 runs in arrears of Suffolk's first innings score in the rain-affected match.

Suffolk had to settle for 10 points - four bowling and two batting bonus points plus four for the draw - and their opponents eight points.

However, all-rounders Paul King and Chris Swallow set a new highest partnership for the eighth wicket after coming together with Suffolk struggling yesterday morning at 126 for seven.

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Suffolk had lost four wickets for the addition of just 14 runs as Martin Eccles and Ian Slegg claimed two victims apiece.

Debutant Chris Schofield, resuming on 61, added just five runs and Tim Catley only one to his overnight total of 30, before Bury St Edmunds team-mates Justin Bishop and Chris Warn both fell cheaply.

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King, with a previous highest score of 40 for Suffolk, and Swallow set about repairing the damage. The runs came in just 97 minutes off 152 balls, with King scoring 88 as opposed to Swallow's 30 before the latter was caught at short leg just before lunch.

By then they had easily surpassed the previous best eighth-wicket stand of 100 established by RV Howard and JE Rumball against Cambridgeshire at Fenners in 1937.

Andrew McGarry survived until lunch but was dismissed by the first ball he faced afterwards and with King on 92 injured captain Phil Caley strode to the wicket in an attempt to see King reach three figures.

Caley, making his 200th appearance for the county, had returned to West Suffolk Hospital in the morning for treatment on his injured hand after dislocating a finger taking a catch on the first day.

Caley faced just two balls as King struck three twos but then spooned a chance two short of his century to mid on where David Ward took his third catch of the day.

King's 98, which occupied 87 balls and 111 minutes, was laced with nine fours and three big sixes - two of them straight and one over mid-wicket.

Carl Amos and opening partner Carl Rogers wiped off all but 14 runs of the deficit, but no sooner had Amos struck Swallow to the boundary off the last ball of the 28th over - the first after tea - than another shower saw the players leave the field at 5pm, although it was likely the match would have finished early at 6pm with no likelihood of a positive result.

Caley, who sustained a deep cut to the bone on the inside of his finger when taking a catch on the first day, said he will have to keep the strapping on for four or five days for the cut to heal before he can start exercising. He is likely to be out for three weeks, but fortunately Suffolk do not have another game until June 25.

He said of King's innings: “He has not really had the chance as much as anything to score runs for us. He is a very clean hitter of the ball and he batted really well. It was a shame when he got out - I think he was in two minds whether to hit it or just push it for one, but I am very pleased for him.”

Of the match itself Caley added: “We lost too much time - the best part of two of the three days - to get a result. We looked at it overnight, whether to declare behind and hope they set us a total, but I decided to go for the bonus points.

“We messed it up when we lost too many wickets and Norfolk picked up three points to our two today.”

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