It's time to pass the three-day test
Cricket: KEVIN Brooks, Suffollk's director of cricket, will be looking for confirmation that the county can adapt to the three-day game when they entertain Cumberland at Bury St Edmunds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
KEVIN Brooks, Suffollk's director of cricket, will be looking for confirmation that the county can adapt to the three-day game when they entertain Cumberland at Bury St Edmunds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Since the Minor Counties Championship switched to a three-day format Suffolk have failed to win a match – losing four and drawing two matches last year and being beaten by eight wickets by Northumberland on Tuesday.
"There is no doubt we are finding it tough to meet the demands of the three-day game," said Brooks. "Our first innings performance was satisfactory at Jesmond, but half an hour's poor batting in the second innings lost us the match.
"We need to up our runs in our second knock and we will be working on this. There were some positive aspects to come out of the Northumberland game and we bowled with good control on a wicket that favoured batsmen."
Ian Morton, a 28-year-old from Clacton, makes his Minor Counties debut. He is primarily a
batsman but can also bowl and he replaces his Clacton team-mate, Felixstowe-based Mark Jones.
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Suffolk coach Andy Brown hurt himself this week after scoring a half-century at Jesmond and Chris Swallow comes in after missing the trip north because of injury. Exning batsman Matt Catley replaces young Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Mark Geeves.
Suffolk are happy to field a young side with experienced bowlers Gary Kirk and Richard Pineo not considered, the first because of a doubt about his ability to last three days and the latter because he has been unable to commit himself to enough Suffolk games.
Cumberland's game against Northumberland descended into a drawn rain-affected farce. Cumberland captain Martin Lewis declared in his side's first innings when they were still 55 runs adrift of the Northumberland target to try to achieve a result. However, instead of setting a competitive target, Northumberland batted through the final day at a tediously slow rate of a little more than two runs an over.
Suffolk will be boosted by the absence of Cumberland's best-known player, Ian Austin, who is injured. He played in the game against Northumberland and was on Lancashire's books for 13 seasons and was picked for England in nine one-day games in the late 1990s.
Austin bowled 12 overs for 13 runs in Northumberland's first innings. Left arm orthodox spinner Jonathan Fielding finished with match figures of nine for 106 from 60 overs and bowled 34 maidens. Fielding, who appeared in one first class game for Lancashire in 1994, is one of many Cumberland players to have played at a higher level.
Middle order batsman Ashley Metcalfe once scored a double century for Yorkshire while bowlers David Pennett and Marcus Sharp appeared for Nottinghamshire and Lancashire respectively.
Monday's teams -
Suffolk: R Catley, T Smith, M Catley, T Catley, I Morton, C Warn (wk), P Caley (capt), K Shaw, C Swallow, P King, J East.
Cumberland: S Knox, O Clayson, A Metcalfe, A Williams, G White, M Lewis (capt), J Fielding, M Burns, D Pennett, M Sharp, P Lawson.