Thrilling victory for Suffolk off last ball
TOM Rash struck a four off the last ball to secure a two-wicket win against Shropshire yesterday which should secure Suffolk a quarter-final berth in this season’s Minor Counties Trophy.
After three successive wash-outs Suffolk finally got their season up and running with their last Group 2 match at Shifnal yesterday - and what a thriller it turned out to be.
Chasing 220 for victory, Suffolk appeared to be floundering when they lost their eighth wicket, Chris Swallow caught by the wicket-keeper running back off a top edge, off the first ball of the 47th over.
That brought Rash to the crease alongside his Bury St Edmunds team mate Simon Rees, with the odds now favouring Shropshire to successfully defend their total.
Rees then hit two fours and a two off the following five balls and the pair plundered another nine runs from the 48th over. With just three runs coming from the first five balls of the penultimate over, Suffolk looked like needing 14 from the last six balls, but Rash struck a four through mid on to reduce the target to ten.
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Both batsmen took a single off each of the first four balls, before Rash hit two from the fifth and then crashed the last ball of the match through the legside to clinch a fantastic victory for the visitors.
After winning the toss Suffolk had Shropshire in trouble from the start, teenager Matt Hunn taking two wickets in the day’s opening over, and the hosts were reduced to 31 for four inside seven overs.
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Brothers Ed and Rob Foster staged a recovery, adding 71 in 118 deliveries for the fifth wicket before Rob fell for 26 and Ed followed five overs later.
However, Tom Cox, whose 35 occupied 60 balls with just one boundary, Jono Whitney, with 25 before Justin Bishop took a good catch low down at cover, and Alex Blowfield, whose 40 came from 38 balls with seven fours, saw them post a competitive total.
Suffolk lost Tom Huggins to the first ball of their reply and although Ben France, Martyn Cull and Hassan Adnan all got into the teens, none of them were able to build an innings.
Former Yorkshire wicket-keeper/batsman Simon Guy, who was making his debut for Suffolk, made a solid 52 at a run a ball with six fours before becoming one of Ed Foster’s four victims behind the stumps.
Suffolk skipper Bishop was run out by a smart piece of fielding by bowler Blowfield, running round to mid-on and returning to the striker’s end to beat Bishop’s dive after he had been sent back.
When Swallow fell the responsibility fell on the inexperienced shoulders of Rees, whose undefeated 33 came from 31 balls with four fours, and Rash, to steer Suffolk home.
Suffolk won by 2 wkts
R Oliver lbw b Hunn 3, E Foster st Warn b Swallow 51, B Shafayat c Warn b Hunn 0, J Leach c Rash b Bishop 6, J Ralph b Hunn 4, R Foster c Warn b Huggins 26, T Cox b Swallow 35, J Whitney c Bishop b France 25, A Blowfield not out 40, M Downes not out 4. Extras 25. Total (for 8 kts, off 50 overs) 219.
Did not bat: M Barnard
Fall: 1-4, 2-5, 3-22, 4-31, 5-102, 6-116, 7-150, 8-200.
Bowling: Hunn 7-0-39-3; Bishop 10-2-48-1; Rash 4-0-18-0; France 9-0-42-1; Swallow 10-1-40-2; Huggins 10-0-30-1.
T Huggins c Oliver b Downes 0, B France lbw b Downes 13, M Cull c E Foster b Shafayat 19, H Adnan lbw b Shafayat 16, S Guy c E Foster b R Foster 52, C Warn c E Foster b R Foster 13, C Swallow c E Foster b Leach 24, J Bishop run out 14, S Rees not out 33, T Rash not out 9. Extras 27. Total (for 8 wkts, off 50 overs) 220.
Fall: 1-0, 2-30, 3-49, 4-84, 5-109, 6-144, 7-167, 8-181.
Bowling: Downes 7-2-7-2; Barnard 8-1-33-1; Leach 9-1-35-1; Shafayat 10-0-60-2; R Foster 9-0-50-2; Blowfield 7-0-27-0.