Suffolk close to a remarkable victory

SUFFOLK came close to pulling off an extraordinary victory before settling for a draw at Luton yesterday in their opening Minor Counties Championship match of the season.

Skipper Justin Bishop claimed a hat-trick as Bedfordshire established a first-innings lead of 18 runs before the home team bowled Suffolk out for 154 to leave themselves to score 137 to win in just 17 overs.

Three wickets in the opening over left Bedfordshire’s innings in disarray and although Suffolk had their hosts 35 for six at one stage they blocked out the remaining overs to ensure a draw and nine points apiece.

Bedfordshire, starting the third and final day – the first day had been a total wash-out – on 156 for four, were dismissed for 213 as their final five wickets fell for just seven runs.

After Alastair Craig slashed to second slip in the fourth over of the morning’s play, Martin Weightman and George Arblaster added 40 before the latter was caught at slip off Bishop from the first ball of the 69th over.

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Bishop then trapped Ziggy Arshad and Chris Esh in front of their stumps with successive deliveries to claim a hat-trick. Weightman was ninth out for 51 made from 85 deliveries with six fours before Tom Huggins wrapped up the innings.

Suffolk’s second innings saw Huggins top score with 47 before being fifth out with the score on 87 – a lead of just 69 – and the visitors in a precarious position.

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Wicket-keeper Chris Warn and debutant Scott Harvey, who showed maturity beyond his tender years, then added 47 off 95 balls in just under an hour, before Warn departed and one run later a ball stopped on Harvey and looped into the covers to be caught.

Former Essex and Suffolk seamer Andrew McGarry then cleaned up the tail to finish with five for 36 and so leave Bedfordshire in with a chance of victory.

Dan Simpson was held above his head by Bishop in the slips off the first ball of the Bedfordshire innings and Steve Stubbings was run out by a direct hit from cover by Ben France as he tried to take a quick single off the fourth ball and was sent back.

Phil Edwards then bowled Weightman with his fifth delivery to leave Bedfordshire nought for three. The home team, to their credit, continued to chase down their target and when Greg Evans slashed a drive to slip they were 29 for four in only the fifth over.

It was only when captain Ollie Clayson skied to long off where he was well caught by Harvey in the next over did Bedfordshire start to shut up shop. Arblaster was caught behind for a single two overs later to leave them with nine overs to still negotiate.

This they did as Craig, who scored two off 35 balls, and Arshad, whose ten runs occupied 32 deliveries, ensured there were no further alarms and honours ended even.

Luton scoreboard


First innings (Overnight 156 for 4): A Craig c Bishop b Edwards 30, M Weightman c Rees b Bishop 51, G Arblaster c Huggins b Bishop 11, Z Arshad lbw b Bishop 0, C Esh lbw b Bishop 0, C Griggs c & b Huggins 3, A McGarry not out 3. Extras 14. Total (off 73.5 overs) 213.

Fall: 5-166, 6-206, 7-206, 8-206, 9-209, 10-213.

Bowling: Edwards 21-6-62-3; Stephens 5-0-22-0; France 13-4-33-1; Bishop 23-5-56-5; Finch 9-0-32-0; Huggins 2.5-1-5-1.

Second innings: D Simpson c Bishop b Edwards 0, O Clayson c Harvey b Bishop 9, S Stubbings run out 0, M Weightman b Edwards 0,

G Evans c Bishop b Edwards 14,A Craig not out 2, G Arblaster c Warn b Bishop 1, Z Arshad not out 10. Extras 17. Total (for 6 wkts, off 17 overs) 53.

Fall: 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-29, 5-34, 6-35.


First innings: 195 (B France 67no, T Huggins 54, C Griggs 4 for 29).

Second innings: T Huggins lbw b Arshad 47, J Bishop c Arblaster b McGarry 0, M Cull c Griggs b Esh 23, H Adnan b Griggs 1, B France c Esh b McGarry 15, C Warn lbw b Weightman 30, S Harvey c Craig b Weightman 16, S Rees c Arblaster b McGarry 8, P Edwards lbw b McGarry 4, J Finch b McGarry 6, B Stephens not out 0. Extras 4. Total (off 58.2 overs) 154.

Fall: 1-1, 2-31, 3-40, 4-87, 5-87, 6-134, 7-135, 8-148, 9-154, 10-154.

Bowling: McGarry 14.2-4-36-5; Griggs 18-7-45-1; Esh 11-0-29-1; Arshad 8-2-24-1; Weightman 7-2-18-2.

Bedfordshire 9pts, Suffolk 9pts.

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