Suffolk succumb to Wright in semi-final

July 16, 2023

CHRIS Wright blew away Suffolk’s top order to pave the way for Cumbria’s four-wicket win in the NCCA Trophy Semi-Final at Sudbury CC on Sunday.

The Leicestershire fast bowler took three wickets with his first 13 deliveries to reduce Suffolk to 8 for 3 off 5.1 overs, a position from which they never really recovered.

The home team were bowled out for 149 off 47 overs, with the visitors reaching their target for the loss of six wickets with 8.1 overs to spare to reach their fourth successive final in this competition.

Suffolk were up against it from the start as ex-Gloucestershire all-rounder George Hankins, who had been lined-up to replace the unavailable George Rhodes, was not registered in time under NCCA rules.

On top of that, opening bat Darren Batch was ruled out due to a troublesome knee injury, leaving Suffolk short at the top of the order.

They then lost the toss and were put into bat by Cumbria, with Wright finding the edge of the bat to remove openers Jack Beaumont and Alex Oxley plus Ben Claydon.

Ironically, Suffolk had tried to sign Wright last season, but Leicestershire would not release him at the time.

Ben Parker and Josh Cantrell both got into the teens before falling to spinner Freddie Fallows, leaving Suffolk 50 for 5 off only 16.1 overs.

Jacob Marston and the tail then dug to try to at least use up Suffolk’s 50-over allocation as well give their bowlers something to defend.

Marston, whose undefeated 52 came from 85 balls with six fours and one six, added 26 with Freddie Heldreich, 29 with Dan Shanks and 20 with Alex Cruickshank for the eighth, ninth and tenth wickets respectively.

With a below-par total to defend Suffolk needed to make early inroads into the Cumbria top order, and Cantrell did just that, holding a smart caught and bowled to dismiss Fallows off just the second delivery.

Sam Dutton lofted Beaumont to Cantrell at mid-off to make it 25 for 2, but Ben Walkden and Marcus Stables steadied the ship in adding 49 for the third wicket before Walkden (34) played across the line to Beaumont and was bowled.

Stables (30) and skipper Michael Slack (20) chipped away at their target, but Tom Harper accounted for both and Heldreich trapped Wright lbw before victory was confirmed.

Marston (pictured above reverse sweeping during his innings) said afterwards: “It’s gutting, it’s really gutting. If we get 50 more we are right in that game and could possibly win it is well, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”


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