Title slips from Suffolk’s grasp

SUFFOLK saw the Eastern Division title of the Minor Counties Championship slip through their fingers despite a valiant effort yesterday.

With Lincolnshire wrapping up a comfortable nine-wicket win against Bedfordshire earlier in the day, Suffolk knew by the time they went into bat that only a victory would do.

After the start at Sedbergh School was delayed until 1.18pm following overnight rain, resulting in the loss of 28 overs’ play, opponents Cumberland set about extending their overnight lead of 285 in quick time.

When the declaration came Suffolk were left to score 383 to win in a minimum of 60 overs at a rate of 6.38, a stiff ask bearing in mind the average run rate per over to that point had been 4.9.

They set about their task with gusto, giving it a good go before closing on 334 for nine to finish 49 runs short and so end runners-up for the second season in succession as Lincolnshire celebrated their success.

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Martyn Cull led the way with 115 with stand-in skipper Tom Huggins and Hassan Adnan both scoring half centuries.

Huggins had to retire with a knee injury in the fifth over, allowing Cull to join forces with Freddie Klokker in a partnership that yielded 84 runs in 63 minutes before Klokker was caught at short leg.

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Cull and Adnan then added a further 96 in 18 overs before Adnan, who struck eight fours and a six from 54 balls received, was bowled in the 42nd over.

Ben France soon followed and Nick Lee and Chris Warn came and went before Cull finally fell with the total on 270 after facing 145 balls and despatching 14 fours.

Huggins, who struck Marcus Sharp for a straight six soon after returning to the crease as church bells tolled nearby, cleared the ropes three times altogether in addition to three fours before he succumbed for a run-a-ball 56.

He was eighth out with the total on 334 and no more runs were added before Simon Rees was caught in the slips off the last ball to present the 39-year-old Sharp with his tenth wicket of the match.

Suffolk were left to reflect on what might have been after finishing the season undefeated, although they were fortunate to escape with a draw at Lincolnshire when rain washed out any prospects of play on the final day.

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