Suffolk match-winner Darren Ironside praises Jaik Mickleburgh after Bedfordshire victory
- Credit: Archant
Darren Ironside was the unlikely match-winner with the bat as Suffolk finished runners-up in the Eastern Division of this season’s Unicorns Championship, writes Nick Garnham.
Ironside scored a superb, unbeaten 125 in the three-wicket win versus Bedfordshire at Flitwick CC on Tuesday.
The visitors, who were set 319 to win in what amounted to 74 overs, won a thrilling run-chase with 21 balls to spare to pick up 22 points.
The county’s second victory of the season – Suffolk drew each of their other four fixtures – saw them leapfrog both Staffordshire and Cumberland to claim second spot.
Ironside plays his club cricket for Buckhurst Hill in Essex, and was brought to Suffolk’s attention by Sudbury and Suffolk batsman Ben Parker, who he met at the University of Leeds.
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The 22-year-old was making just his third Unicorns Championship appearance for Suffolk, after being selected as an off-spinning all-rounder.
Ironside arrived at the crease with Suffolk 64 for two after 19 overs, and featured in stands of 79 with Jaik Mickleburgh, who was dismissed for 54 after reaching 1,000 runs for Suffolk this season, and 71 with Ben Shepperson.
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Mildenhall batsman Shepperson scored an explosive 49 off just 35 deliveries, to put Suffolk on course for victory.
Ironside said: “It was really pleasing to contribute to a winning side for Suffolk, especially as I have only played a few games. It was definitely my most important innings so far.
“Having someone like Jaik is fantastic. He is so experienced and he tells you things that most players would not even think about. It is a pleasure batting with him and he really helped me along and got me off to a good start.
“I think when Jaik got out it was still pretty much in the balance and all three results were possible and for Shep to come in like he did and play really positively meant I could just keep getting the ones and keep ticking over and just do my role and bat through to the end.
“Shep’s innings was really important as it meant we got the rate right down and didn’t need to take many risks.”