Suffolk on the back foot at Staffordshire

Michael Comber, who took the wickets of both openers during Staffordshire's big first innings total.

Michael Comber, who took the wickets of both openers during Staffordshire's big first innings total. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Suffolk endured a very tough start to their Minor Counties Championship campaign, playing second fiddle to hosts Staffordshire throughout day one of their three-day contest at West Bromwich Dartmouth CC today.

Staffordshire made the most of the excellent batting conditions to accumulate a total of 374 for eight off 90 overs, after winning the toss.

In reply, Suffolk stumbled along to 85 for four off 20 overs at the close, still 289 runs behind with six wickets in hand.

An opening partnership of 142 between Sam Kelsall and Kadeer Ali helped Staffordshire take control during the morning session.

Ali made a patient 63 off 130 balls before he was bowled by Michael Comber, and the former Essex all-rounder also removed Kelsall, caught behind by wicketkeeper Adam Mansfield, following a fine 85 off 161 deliveries.

A stand of 50 for the fourth wicket, between Peter Wilshaw (34) and Tim Maxfield (36), took the score along to 225, but it was an unbeaten 74 from the dangerous Michael Hill at No. 6 that really put Suffolk on the back foot.

Hill struck four sixes in his 62-ball stay, receiving good lower order support from Brinder Phagura and Daniel Richardson.

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Comber, Tom Rash, Josh Cantrell and Kyran Young all took two wickets.

Despite a swift 35 from 33 balls by Jack Beaumont, at the top of the innings, Suffolk were always struggling in their reply during the last session.

Phagura took three for 27 off seven overs, claiming Beaumont as his third wicket, caught behind by James Sookias, so the visitors face a stern test tomorrow.

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