Suffolk suffer quarter-final exit in Minor Counties trophy

SUFFOLK suffered a disappointing exit at the quarter-final stage of the Minor Counties Trophy as they lost to Staffordshire by seven wickets yesterday.

After being put into bat by their hosts at Longton, Suffolk were dismissed for just 121 in 39.2 overs - a target which never seriously posed a problem for Staffordshire, who won with 23.3 overs unused in their reply.

Eleven of the 13 wickets to fall were to catches on a wicket which offered some movement to the bowlers if they put the ball in the right areas.

Essex all-rounder Michael Comber, who opened after Ben France was left out from the 12-man squad, was unhappy to be adjudged caught behind down the legside off the last ball of the opening over, but Tom Huggins and Martyn Cull repaired the damaged with a second-wicket stand worth 53, before Huggins was caught behind driving outside off stump in the 17th over.

It was all downhill thereafter for the visitors, Hassan Adnan next to go trying to leave the last ball of the 20th over but only succeeding in giving wicket-keeper Paul Goodwin his third catch of the innings.

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Simon Guy followed off the first ball of the 25th over, and four balls later Cull top-edged an attempted pull and was caught at mid off. His innings of 40 spanned 71 balls and included six fours.

Goodwin snapped up his fourth catch four overs later as Chris Warn departed, before slow left-armer Paul Byrne got one to turn and lift that Chris Swallow edged to slip.

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Simon Rees was bowled trying to drive, and in the next over - the 38th - skipper Justin Bishop’s miscued pull was held by James Campbell at mid-wicket.

Essex bowler Tymal Mills was last man out, trying to guide the ball to third man but finding the hands of Craig Spearman at slip instead. That meant Suffolk’s last six wickets had fallen for just 35 runs in less than 15 overs.

Staffordshire made short work of their target, posting 35 runs on the board inside seven overs before Campbell flashed hard at a ball from Mills and Adnan took the catch tumbling forward at third man.

Mills struck again off the last ball of the ninth over, when Spearman, who turns 40 next month, adjudged caught behind off a delivery which the former New Zealand Test batsman felt came off his shirt.

Suffolk’s only other success came when David Wheeldon’s drive found the hands of Rees at slip, but Peter Wilshaw, whose undefeated 45 came off just 41 deliveries with eight fours, and Atiq-ur-Rehman Chishti, who struck successive straight sixes off Huggins to finish the match, ensured an easy victory.

Longton scoreboard

Staffordshire bt Suffolk by 7 wkts.

Suffolk: T Huggins c Goodwin b Barker 21, M Comber c Goodwin b Willott 0, M Cull c Campbell b Barker 40, H Adnan c Goodwin b Chishti 8, S Guy lbw b Barker 11, S Rees c Chishti 10, C Warn c Goodwin b Barker 8, C Swallow c Chishti b Byrne 0, J Bishop c Campbell b Byrne 7, T Mills c Spearman b Chishti 1, M Hunn not out 0. Extras 15. Total (off 39.2 overs) 121.

Fall; 1-2, 2-55, 3-68, 4-86, 5-87, 6-98, 7-105, 8-119, 9-121, 10-121.

Bowling: Willott 8-1-25-1; Arif 7-2-13-0; Barker 10-0-33-4; Chishti 7.2-0-29-3; Byrne 7-0-19-2.

Staffordshire: J Campbell c Adnan b Mills 15, C Spearman c Warn b Mills 17, D Wheeldon c Rees b Huggins 16, P Wilshaw not out 45, Chishti not out 16. Extras 13. Total (for 3 wkts, off 26.3 overs) 122.

Did not bat: B McGuire, P Goodwin, P Byrne, C Barker, G Willott, I Arif.

Fall: 1-35, 2-41. 3-104.

Bowling: Mills 8-1-33-2; Hunn 3-0-20-0; Comber 5-0-18-0; Bishop 4-0-23-0; Swallow 5-1-13-0; Huggins 1.3-0-14-1.

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