Suffolk face tough away tie

THE most prolific batsman in the East region of the 50+ County Championship consigned Suffolk to a very tough match away to holders Middlesex in the first round of the national knock-out at Teddington on Sunday.

Jeremy Page of Bedfordshire has scored 1471 runs at an average of over 100 in his three seasons in the competition, and for the second year running it was his unbeaten century that snatched victory away from Suffolk when the teams met at Flitwick on Thursday.

Suffolk needed a win to earn a home draw as one of the seeds in the last 16 of the competition, but despite a solid batting display to put 229 on the board, they fell just short as Page carried his bat for 105 not out to secure a two-wicket victory with a scrambled bye from the last delivery of the day. Page had scored 115 not out to give his team victory at Sudbury in 2010 and 72 when Suffolk beat Beds in 2009.

In-form Simon Halliday top-scored with 84, putting on 91 for the first wicket with Colin Walters (41) and then a further 84 for the second wicket with skipper Tony Stubbs (50).

Peter Boughton (14) and Stubbs were caught off successive deliveries and Kevin Dobson (13 not out) and Guy Robins (18 not out) hit out for a quickfire partnership of 32 for a final total of 229 for four.

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Page and Colin Tibbett put on 92 for the first wicket, but Dobson made the breakthrough with a double strike. Page kept Beds up with the required rate and at 177 for four with nine overs left a home win seemed likely. Then Ian Knight switched ends and he and Stubbs both picked up two wickets to leave Bedfordshire needing eight runs from the last over with just two wickets left. Page was still there and with two balls left all three results were possible. But the scores were levelled with one ball to go, and the final bye meant Bedfordshire were the winners.

That meant Suffolk’s successful campaign ended as runners-up to old rivals Norfolk – and when the draw for the last 16 was made they were given the daunting task of travelling to play Middlesex, who beat Oxfordshire in last year’s final.

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Scores: Suffolk 229 for 4 (S Halliday 84, T Stubbs 50, C Walters 41, C Stubbs 3 for 44). Bedfordshire 230 for 8 (J Page 105no, C Tibbett 37, I Knight 3 for 65, T Stubbs 2 for 39, K Dobson 2 for 45). Bedfordshire won by 2 wkts.

Meanwhile, Maldon Seniors defeated the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Over-50s by two wickets with five balls to spare in a thrilling match for the John Ellis Memorial Trophy at Drapers Farm on Friday. John Stuck made an undefeated 136 in the Two Counties total of 263 for one declared from 57 overs. The home team, whose former skipper Mick Brown top-scored with 79, faced one over less.

Eleven-year-old Ben Prentice, the grandson of John Ellis, opened the bowling for Maldon and impressed with his figures of 6-1-29-0. John Ellis’s widow Doreen presented the trophy.

Two Counties Over-50s 263 for 1 dec (J Stuck 136no, R Black 60, M Southwell 35no, E Carpenter 1 for 33). Maldon Seniors 264 for 8 (M Brown 79, M Hawkes 64no, K Bannister 40, R Barber 31, N Oakley 2 for 36, P Cox 2 for 22). Maldon won by 2 wkts.

The match played at the Promenade at the same time also resulted in a win for Maldon.

Two Counties Over-60s 239 for 7 (B Ball 65, S Isaac 57, D Messent 35, K Patel 24no, M Randall 2 for 42). Maldon XI 240 for 4 (M Smith 88, P Hills 53no, G Brooks 47, D Gozzett 20, D Messent 2 for 10, R Powell 1 for 21). Maldon XI won by 6 wkts.

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