Weather frustrates Suffolk cricketers

MENTION hosepipe bans and water shortages to Suffolk skipper Phil Caley and you will not receive a polite reply.In a summer of supposed drought, Caley's hopes of success in both the Minor Counties Championship and the KO Cup have been dogged by bad weather.

By Elvin King

MENTION hosepipe bans and water shortages to Suffolk skipper Phil Caley and you will not receive a polite reply.

In a summer of supposed drought, Caley's hopes of success in both the Minor Counties Championship and the KO Cup have been dogged by bad weather.

And it was therefore no great surprise for the Suffolk faithful to have clear blue skies that accompanied their breakfast turn into dark leaden ones before the start of the second day's play against fellow title hopefuls Lincolnshire at the Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds.


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After 22 overs were lost to rain on Sunday a further 42 were lost yesterday forcing Caley and his opposite number Mathew Dowman to get their heads together and try to contrive a result.

The final hour's play was near-farcical with part-time bowlers allowing Suffolk to score virtually at will so that Lincs will have a total to chase today.

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Chris Schofield rattled up an unbeaten 92 in 51 balls with 16 fours and a six before Caley declared at 7.55pm with Lincs needing to score 338 to win from a minimum of 102 overs today.

The day ended with relations soured between the teams with the visitors accusing Caley of carrying on too long and setting them a target higher than had been negotiated.

Leaders Buckinghamshire collected four bonus points for dismissing Northumberland for 216 in a rain-affected day at Jesmond yesterday - and they remain in the driving seat to take the Eastern Division title even through they were 128 for 6 at close of play last night.

There will a succession of calls to and from Northumberland to check the state of play, but only a win will be good enough for Suffolk or Lincs - and then only if Bucks, who began their final game five points ahead of Suffolk and three ahead of Lincs, are beaten.

Play did not start at Bury until 3.0pm, and there was a further 15-minute break for a shower. At one time the rain was so heavy that it not only made lakes on the outfield it also came through the pavilion roof and lunch tables had to be moved. Full marks to Bury chairman and groundsman Bobby Flack for his efficient covering of the wicket - with play possible within an hour of the rain stopping.

In their first innings Suffolk would have preferred to have reached 275 - the total needed for a third batting bonus points - with the loss of just four wickets as this would have moved level with their opponents.

But after contributing freely to a fine fifth wicket partnership of 121 with Nick Lee, Chris Warn was caught off a skier at mid-off five runs short. Caley decided not to go for the fourth batting point - 325 - and called his batsmen in as soon at 275 was reached.

On a dry wicket and with the sun blazing down for most of the late afternoon and early evening, Lincolnshire showed their batting prowess with a measured 110-run second-wicket stand between Martyn Dobson and Jon Trower.

Three balls after Trower was out, the visitors declared ensuring that Suffolk did not collect any bowling bonus points.

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