Suffolk pull off improbable victory

August 23, 2023

SUFFOLK pulled off what had appeared an improbable victory versus Buckinghamshire in their final NCCA Championship match of the season at Copdock & Old Ipswichian CC.

After trailing by 115 runs on first innings, Josh Cantrell (pictured above) scored his maiden century to steer Suffolk to 366 all out in their second innings, setting the visitors 252 to win.

Bucks, who secured seven bonus points over the opening two days to clinch the Eastern Division One title, were reduced to 57 for 6 by seamers Matt Wareing (4 for 42) and Dan Shanks (2 for 46) in their second innings.

Jack Beaumont (6-4-7-3) then claimed three cheap wickets before George Rhodes bowled last man Tom Weymes to complete a memorable turnaround and 115-run victory with only 5.1 overs remaining.

After winning the toss, the home team had been dismissed for an under-par 197 in 60.5 overs first time around, Alex Oxley top-scoring with a patient 50 from 116 balls on his home ground.

Bucks put Suffolk’s innings in perspective on a good wicket by replying with 312 all out in 88.1 overs, 17-year-old debutant wicket-keeper George Harvey top-scoring with 92 and Wareing taking 4 for 71.

Michael Payne was run out by a direct hit throw from 60-plus yards by Suffolk’s 12th man Barney Morton, before a record eighth-wicket stand against Suffolk of 83 between Conner Haddow (39) and Harvey put Bucks in the ascendency.

Alex Oxley (left) and Josh Cantrell (right) received their caps from Suffolk CCC Chair Andrew Squire after the second day of the NCCA Championship match versus Buckinghamshire at Copdock & OI CC.

Beaumont and 16-year-old Ollie Burle all but wiped off the deficit with Suffolk’s first century opening stand of the season before Burle was caught for 40.

Suffolk skipper Beaumont was out for 64 – his third half century in his last four innings – and Rhodes made 46, but at 216 for 5 and a lead of just 101 entering the third and final day the outcome was in the balance.

Cantrell and Marston set a new sixth-wicket high against Bucks of 118, comfortably surpassing the county’s previous best of 85 between BA Wilson and WAD Whitfield set at Chesham in 1959.

Bury St Edmunds captain Cantrell, whose century eclipsed his previous best score of 71 versus Norfolk two years ago, had been awarded his county cap after stumps the day before for reaching 50 Championship wickets.

Oxley was also presented with his county cap by Suffolk CCC Chair Andrew Squire after reaching 1,000 runs when getting off the mark in the first innings.

Wareing said afterwards: “It’s incredible. Three-day wins don’t come around very often and certainly not in situations like that.”

The result meant that Bucks, who will now face Western Division winners Devon in the Championship Play-Off Final, finished with 65 points – three ahead of runners-up Staffordshire and Suffolk two points further behind in third place.

Norfolk, who lost their final match of the campaign away to Lincolnshire, are relegated, with Bedfordshire replacing them in 2024 after winning Eastern Division Two to bounce straight back up.



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