Suffolk secure their top-flight status

August 16, 2023

SUFFOLK secured their NCCA Championship Eastern Division One status for another season thanks to a nerve-shredding 13-run victory over Norfolk.

The win was achieved despite two batting collapses – one in each innings – of the three-day match at Horsford CC.

After winning the toss on Sunday, Suffolk were in control at 153 for 2 on the first morning thanks to a 121 partnership between captain Jack Beaumont and George Rhodes.

Rhodes was dismissed for 50 and then Beaumont for 89 – his highest score for the county – caught at deep mid-wicket on the stroke of lunch. A further five wickets fell after the resumption, with Suffolk losing seven for 18 in just 12 overs.

A tenth-wicket stand of 38 between debutant Raj Singh (17 off 46 deliveries) and Tom Harper (26 off 70) on his 19th birthday hauled Suffolk to 209.

Singh then claimed two early wickets and the visitors had reduced Norfolk to 97 for 6 by the close, before Ryan Findlay led the fightback with 67 on day two as the hosts cut the first-innings deficit to just 23.

Beaumont and 16-year-old debutant Ollie Burle then put on 95 in 32 overs before stumps as almost half-a-day’s play was lost to rain and bad light.

After Beaumont departed on Tuesday morning without addition to his overnight 62, Burle displayed his potential in a patient 44 off 126 balls.

The next highest score was just 12 as Suffolk completely lost their way against Brett Stolworthy (25-7-47-5) and Findlay (15-5-36-3) and any thoughts of setting a declaration evaporated.

Suffolk lost all nine second-innings wickets (Alex Oxley was not well enough to even travel to the ground) for 58 runs, leaving Norfolk a target of 180.

Singh took two early wickets before Norfolk skipper Sam Arthurton was stumped by Jacob Marston off Beaumont – both his Copdock & Old Ipswichian CC team-mates – for the second time in the match.

Tom New’s measured 53 from 110 deliveries looked to be leading Norfolk home, but when he was out and Charlie Rogers was lbw to give Josh Cantrell two wickets in two balls, Norfolk were 128 for 6.

Burle had the misfortune to drop a skier at square leg to reprieve Callum Metclaf, but soon redeemed himself by catching the dangerous Findlay on the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Cantrell (19-5-39-4) and Rhodes (15.3-4-33-3) snared the last seven wickets for the addition of 61 runs in 29 overs. Suffolk’s players are pictured above celebrating their victory after George Rhodes trapped Andy Hanby lbw.

Suffolk skipper Beaumont said: “It was very close at the end there, but it is so nice for the boys to get across the line which, in those close games we have played in previous years, we know can go either way.”

Suffolk play their fourth and final NCCA Championship match versus Buckinghamshire at Copdock, starting on Sunday at 11am.




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