Suffolk reach quarter-finals after dramatic win
SUFFOLK Over-50s scored a dramatic win over 50+ County Champions Middlesex to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in years.
In recent times they have qualified from their group with regularity, but away draws have led to exits at the first knock- out stage.
There was a fear that history would repeat itself when Suffolk lost their last group match - a rearranged match away to Bedfordshire - which meant they had to travel to holders Middlesex in the last 16.
But a fine all-round performance at Teddington CC, in the attractive surroundings of Bushey Park, saw them snatch victory by the narrowest of margins in the gathering gloom.
After winning the toss Suffolk skipper Tony Stubbs put the hosts in to bat on a damp wicket and with a couple of showers causing interruptions to play there was always something in it for the bowlers.
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Nigel Dennis was his usual mean self, sending down nine overs at a cost of just 18 runs. His fellow opening bowler Ollie Gravell picked up three for 39 while Guy Robins (two for 27) and Kevin Dobson (none for 29) were also economical.
Mark Paget made his debut behind the stumps and took a catching and a stumping but the Middlesex total of 189 for eight from their 45 overs still seemed formidable.
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John Stuck was out for a duck as Suffolk made a poor start to their reply, but Simon Halliday (46) and skipper Stubbs (27) laid the foundations for the run chase.
Even so, when the fourth wicket fell at 95 there was still a long way to go.
Kevin Dobson (35) and Robins then added 48 for the fifth wicket and Robins hit out to score 57 from 54 deliveries to take Suffolk to the brink of victory, needing three to win from the last over.
But Robins was bowled by the first ball of that last over and Suffolk were 187 for seven.
Dennis came out to join Gravell in decidedly dodgy light, and the pair who had begun the day leading the Suffolk attack together scored two singles and then kept out the final three deliveries to secure victory with the scores level but Suffolk having lost one less wicket.
It was then 8.35pm.
Suffolk will now play Warwickshire in the last eight, at a venue to be decided, probably on Sunday, August 21.
Suffolk Over-60s 2nds travelled to Welwyn to play Hertfordshire with the winner guaranteed a semi-final place.
Bowling first on a rain-affected wicket the Suffolk bowlers gave nothing away, with all bowlers conceding less than 30 runs from their nine overs.
Roger Ingham led the way with two for 17 while Mark Sargeant (two for 24), Alan Burt (two for 24), Bob Perrett (one for 26) and Russ Abbott (none for 27) all played their part in restricting Herts to 129 for eight in their 45 overs.
In reply Graham Penny was dropped before he had scored and then went on to make a brisk 63, but then three wickets fell for no runs with the score on 87. However, Rickie Ratford and Chris Watson achieved the target with no more alarms .
Hertfordshire Over-60s II 129 for 8 (Ingham 2 for 17, Burt 2 for 24). Suffolk Over-60s II 130 for 3 (G Penny 63, R Ratford 30no, D Andrews 28). Suffolk won by 7 wkts.
Suffolk will play Sussex or Surrey in the semi-final on a date and at a venue still to be arranged.
Two centuries and two big stands were the highlights of the match between the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Over-50s and the Prsident’s XI which ended in a draw.
Colin Walters (100) and Jon Wiseman (88) shared a second-wicket stand of 142 in just 103 balls in the Two Counties’ total of 280 for eight declared at Elmstead Grasshoppers’ ground last Wednesday.
The President’s XI, watched by league president John Bradley, replied with 218 for five, Brian Challis (137) and John Stuck (51) adding 169 from 162 deliveries for the second wicket.
Two Counties Over-50s 280 for 8 dec (C Walters 100, J Wiseman 88, G Webster 4 for 55, M Hillis 2 for 31). President’s XI 218 for 5 (B Challis 137, J Stuck 51, M Southwell 2 for 57, I Johnson 1 for 19). Match drawn.
The Two Counties Over-60s fixture the following day at Easton CC against the MSC Suffolk Alliance Over-60s was washed out.