Trio are awarded county caps after win

THREE players were awarded their county caps after Suffolk completed an impressive eight-wicket victory over Northumberland, following three days of absorbing cricket at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds.

By Carl Marston

THREE players were awarded their county caps after Suffolk completed an impressive eight-wicket victory over Northumberland, following three days of absorbing cricket at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds.

Ben France, Nick Lee and Justin Bishop were all presented with their Suffolk caps by skipper Phil Caley, after all three had made valuable contributions in this first Minor Counties Championship victory of the season.

Lee had celebrated his first century for Suffolk in the first innings, after Bishop had claimed three wickets to put Northumberland on the back foot, and France rounded off a successful match for him, and the team, with his second half-century to guide the hosts to a comfortable victory.

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France anchored the side with an unbeaten 59 as Suffolk reached their target of 190 with eight wickets and 12.1 overs to spare. He had made 77 in the first innings.

There were also half-centuries for fellow opener Tom Huggins (50) and the hard-hitting Toby Hembry (60) as the hosts closed out the win in relentless fashion.

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New county cap France said: “It's been a good few days for me, and the team. It's been a stop-start season weather-wise, and I think we still have some way to go to reach our full potential.

“We played attacking cricket throughout the match, from the first session to the last. In fact, they were the two most important sessions.

“Huggy (Tom Huggins) attacked early on, so I just dropped anchor and made sure that I stayed around. Toby (Hembry) came in and played his natural game, so we all showed glimpses of what we are capable of achieving.

“It was like chasing a one-day score in our second innings. We never gave them a chance.”

Just like in their first innings, Northumberland's tail wagged impressively during the early afternoon. Their last two wickets had added 92 runs on day one, to boost their modest total to 234, and yesterday Suffolk conceded a further 60 runs before capturing the last two wickets.

One of these was danger-man Ian Pattison, who had progressed from his overnight 17 to inch to within three runs of a century. The Northumberland No. 5 was ninth out, ensnared by Phil Caley's catch off the bowling of Chris Swallow, one of three victims for the Suffolk spinner.

Pattison struck 13 boundaries in his stubborn innings of 97. He reached his half-century off exactly 100 balls, and was in fact the only real figure of resistance until wicketkeeper Phil Nicholson's unbeaten 23 at the end of the innings.

Huggins had bowled 18 overs of spin during the first part of the day, before setting about attacking Northumberland's opening bowlers in what was a very positive start from the talented opener.

Having raced to his 50 off 52 deliveries, he was then deceived by spinner Gale, who dislodged one of his bails just before tea. However, by then Suffolk had already raced to 88 in just 17 overs.

Hembry effectively killed off the game as a contest by smashing a quickfire 60 after tea, although he did survive a couple of missed catches. He reached his half-century in 57 balls, but was dismissed just six runs short of the winning target after mis-timing a shot off part-time bowler Bradley Parker.

Appropriately, though, it was France who hit the winning run. A few minutes later and he was receiving his county cap off skipper Caley, an accolade also enjoyed by Lee and Bishop.

Victory Ground scoreboard

Suffolk (24pts) bt Northumberland (5pts) by 8 wickets.


First innings: 234 (G Bridge 59, B France 3 for 48, J Bishop 3 for 59).

Second innings

D Shurben c Warn b France 51

A Worthy lbw b Edwards 23

A Maiden run out 37

B Parker lbw b Swallow 3

I Pattison c Caley b Swallow 97

S Gale lbw b Edwards 12

S Graham lbw b Bishop 7

G Bridge c Bishop b Swallow 4

D Rutherford run out 2

P Nicholson c Caley b Edwards 23

G Stewart not out 0

Extras lb8 b3 w1 nb10 22

Total (93.5 overs) 281

Fall: 1-52 2-96 3-116 4-146 5-162 6-187 7-209 8-221 9-275

Bowling: Edwards 21.5-4-75-3, Bishop 18-6-45-1, King 4-0-17-0, France 5-0-25-1, Swallow 22-8-47-3, Geeves 5-0-16-0, Huggins 18-3-45-0.


First innings 326 for 7 dec (N Lee 105, B France 77, C Swallow 47).

Second innings

B France not out 59

T Huggins b Gale 50

T Hembry c Pattison b Parker 60

N Lee not out 0

Extras lb1, b4, w2 nb14 21

Total (for 2, 35.5 overs) 190

Fall: 1-88 2 184

Bowling: Stewart 4-0-29-0, Graham 8-1-46-0, Rutherford 6-2-15-0, Bridge 9-1-35-0, Gale 6-0-54-1, Shurben 1.5-1-1-0, Parker 1-0-5-1.

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