Victory is vital for Suffolk’s title bid
SKIPPER Justin Bishop has stressed the importance of victory over Bedfordshire if Suffolk are to retain a realistic chance of winning this season’s Minor Counties Championship.
Suffolk entertain Bedfordshire in their second three-day Eastern Division fixture of the season at the Victory Ground, starting at 11am on Sunday, after a rain-affected draw against Norfolk in their opening match at the same venue.
Bishop said: “Each season we set out to win four out of six matches to stand a chance of winning the title, so having lost the first day’s play and drawn against Norfolk, victory is a must otherwise we will behind the eight-ball in terms of trying to win the championship this season.”
Suffolk will also be bidding to banish the memory of last Sunday’s disappointing seven-wicket Minor County Trophy quarter-final exit at Staffordshire, where the visitors were bowled out for just 121.
Bishop, who before the match said this season’s one-day squad was the strongest he has been involved in with Suffolk - the visitors could afford to leave out all-rounder Ben France - made no excuses for the defeat.
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“I don’t want to blame losing the toss because that is the easy thing to do. Staffordshire’s skills were better than ours on the day. Their seamers bowled really well on a wicket which offered plenty of sideways movement, and it was one of those days when three or four balls came along with our name on them.
“Losing Michael Comber first ball was a big blow because he can be very destructive, but when I spoke to Martyn Cull at the drinks break and we were 50 for one he said 200 would be a great score on that wicket, and if someone had got 80 we would have got to 200. Even 160 or 170 would have been a good score.
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“If we were to have any chance of winning we needed to get three or four wickets with the new ball, and although we beat the bat regularly - Tymal Mills did so three or four times an over - we didn’t make best use of the new ball, although it started swinging after a few overs.
“We fielded quite well, and the defeat was not as bad as it sounds. The lads were gutted afterwards. The changing room was like a library, which is good as it showed the defeat hurt, but we now have to focus on our three-day cricket.”
Essex duo Comber and Mills drop out, but ex-Yorkshire batsman and wicket-keeper Simon Guy is available and is included in the squad which sees the addition of Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Tom Rash and batsman Sasha Ward.
Suffolk squad: T Huggins, B France, M Cull, H Adnan, S Guy, S Rees, C Warn (wkt), J Bishop (capt), C Swallow, M Hunn, T Rash, S Ward.