Remembering one of the greatest days in Suffolk cricket history
This week marks the tenth anniversary of Suffolk lifting the Minor Counties KO Trophy. Nick Garnham spoke to skipper Phil Caley about the day.
August Bank Holiday Mondays are all too often remembered for poor weather and the end of the summer.
But anyone from Suffolk who travelled to sun-kissed Lord’s on August 27th 2007 will have fond memories of one of the greatest days in the county’s history.
It was the day that Suffolk lifted the Minor Counties KO Trophy for the first, and still so far only, time in the county’s history.
Suffolk had twice previously lost in the semi-final – at home to Shropshire in 2003 and away to Berkshire in 2004 – before beating Oxfordshire away in a low-scoring, rain-affected semi-final.
After reducing Oxfordshire to 19 for seven, Suffolk dismissed their hosts for 65, and were wobbling at 55 for seven until Chris Swallow’s undefeated 15 saw them home – and their date with destiny.
Caley recalled: “We knew we were good enough to win the competition, but we still had to produce the goods in the games.
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“We produced a poor batting performance at Finchampstead three years before, so it was a relief to finally get to a final at the third attempt.”
Director of Cricket Kevin Brooks and coach Andy Brown, who both played first-class cricket for Derbyshire, were meticulous in their preparations surrounding the big day.
They left no stone unturned as they plotted how Suffolk would return home with the trophy.
Caley said: “We all met up the day before and we went in the nets on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s and had a really good workout which was ideal preparation for the following day.
“I remember I won the toss and we were playing on a used wicket which Middlesex had used in their previous game, so we knew because of the wear and tear it would be better if we were batting first.
“We lost Tom Huggins early, but the team batted around Paul Grayson and Chris Swallow had a good partnership with him.”
Indeed, Suffolk were 74 for four when Swallow joined Essex first-team coach Paul Grayson at the wicket in a match-defining partnership of 84.
Swallow fell for 38, but man-of-the-match Grayson held the innings together with 87, before he was caught at long on in the 47th over. He struck eight fours from 102 balls faced.
Caley reminisced: “We felt it was a defendable total on a used wicket with the bowling attack that we had, so we were not unhappy with what we set them.”
Cheshire, who lost their first three wickets for just 26 runs, were always behind the run-rate, and two wickets in as many balls left them floundering on 95 for six.
They still required 82 from the final ten overs, but Ben France picked up four lower-order wickets to seal Suffolk’s success.
Caley recalled: “Nobody really got in and got going for them. Paul King bowled a good spell at one end and Martin Smith tied up the other end.
“Then Justin Bishop came on and bowled a good spell at the pavilion end, which left Ben France as our trump card. He came on and cleaned up by taking four wickets.”
As Caley collected the trophy Suffolk and their supporters celebrated in front of the Lord’s pavilion – the perfect end to a perfect day at the home of cricket.
Caley said: “Although 35 runs sounds quite close, it was relatively comfortable, although it didn’t feel like it on the day! But it was a fairly big margin in what was a low-scoring match and we were more than happy with our day’s work.
“Not many people can say they have achieved what I did – lifting a trophy at Lord’s. We had been knocking on the door for a couple of years, and we had finally put everything together when it mattered.”
T Huggins lbw b Syddall 9
B France lbw b Finegan 24
A Mawson c Dawson b Finegan 11
A Grayson c Finegan b Syddall 87
T Hembry run out 10
C Swallow st Dawson b Dumelow 38
P Caley c Dawson b Woods 1
C Warn c Dawson b Finegan 7
J Bishop c Finegan b Whittaker 15
P King lbw b Whittaker 0
M Smith not out 3
Total (49.2 overs) 219
Fall: 1-11, 2-40, 3-59, 4-74, 5-158, 6-159, 7-197, 8-204, 9-206.
Bowling: Syddall 10-0-56-2, Finegan 10-1-38-3, Whittaker 9.2-1-35-2, Woods 10-0-51-1, Dumelow 10-1-36-1.
A Hall c Warn b King 8
D Leech lbw b Smith 3
B Spendlove c Warn b Bishop 49
N Dumelow c Mawson b Smith 5
C Bassano c Warn b Bishop 14
J Duffy c & b Grayson 10
J Whittaker b France 23
M Dawson b France 51
A Syddall b France 6
C Finegan c Swallow b France 6
D Woods not out 0
Total (47.4 overs) 184
Fall: 1-10, 2-18, 3-26, 4-84, 5-95, 6-95, 7-156, 8-172, 9-180.
Bowling: Smith 8-3-19-2, King 10-1-20-1, Swallow 9-0-48-0, Bishop 8-0-31-2, Grayson 7-0-29-1, France 5.4-0-36-4.
Suffolk won by 35 runs