Confident Suffolk stay in command
CRICKET: Suffolk were hoping for enough dry weather to collect their first Minor Counties Championship victory since the competition went three-day last year.
SUFFOLK were hoping for enough dry weather to collect their first Minor Counties Championship victory since the competition went three-day last year.
They entered the last day against Cumberland at Bury St Edmunds in a commanding position.
On a rain-affected day, when more than two hours' play was lost, Suffolk built on their advantage established on the opening day at the Victory Ground.
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Cumberland, resuming on 35 for four, were dismissed in 48 overs for 152 – a first-innings deficit of 155.
Suffolk responded with 204 for six before Phil Caley declared three overs before the close to leave Cumberland needing 360 to win from 102 overs today.
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Although not impossible, it is an improbable order on a wicket that is expected to turn more. That, plus the inclement weather forecast, were key factors in Caley's decision not to enforce the follow-on after Cumberland fell just five runs short of their target.
After both overnight batsmen fell within four runs of each other to leave Cumberland on a precarious 51 for six, skipper Martin Lewis and Andy Williams added 79 for the seventh wicket.
After they were parted a smart one-handed slip catch by Trevor Smith brought opener Steve Knox, who had broken a finger on the first day, to the crease in an attempt to avoid the possible follow-on, but he lasted two balls before lobbing a lifting delivery to short leg.
That left Lewis undefeated on 59 from 71 deliveries with 10 fours and the only six of the match so far and each of Suffolk's three seamers – Smith, Paul King and James East – with three wickets apiece.
Suffolk's second innings saw both Chris Warn and Matt Catley score half-centuries after coming together at 82 for four.
Debutant Ian Morton made an attractive 28 off 36 balls opening the innings before edging behind. Russell Catley fell to a bat-pad catch at short leg and brother Tim and Chris Swallow were both trapped leg before when playing forward.
Warn's 59-ball stay, which contained six fours, ended when he clipped to mid-wicket.
Caley and Matt Catley then added 52 runs in the next 30 minutes before Catley was caught at the wicket for 54 from just 51 balls with nine fours.
Although Suffolk probably already had sufficient runs to declare, the murky light meant they would have been unable to unleash their opening bowlers so Caley batted on until almost the scheduled close of play.