Suffolk gain upper hand

CRICKET: A late clatter of wickets gave Suffolk the upper hand at the end of the first day of their Minor Counties Championship match against Cumberland at the Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday.

CRICKET

A late clatter of wickets gave Suffolk the upper hand at the end of the first day of their Minor Counties Championship match against Cumberland at the Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday.

Suffolk had batted solidly right down the line to post a total over 300, and then grabbed four wickets in the first eight overs of the visitors' reply.

By the close Cumberland had steadied the ship slightly to reach 35 for four, but with two players injured they are facing an uphill battle today.

Kevin Brooks, Suffolk's director of cricket, was delighted by his team's display.

"We knew it was important to win the toss and get some runs on the board, and we did just that. Then the bowlers put the ball in the business area and they were rewarded," he said.

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"We're very pleased with our start, but there is still a long way to go."

Suffolk's batting was highlighted by half-centuries from wicket-keeper Chris Warn and skipper Phil Caley, while Matt Catley was unluckily run out one short of his 50 after Kevin Shaw's straight drive was deflected onto the wicket at the non-striker's end.Russell Catley and Trevor Smith had given Suffolk a good start, sharing an opening stand of 49 before both falling to Peter Lawson for 23.

Warn and Chris Swallow added 50 for the fourth wicket and then Warn and Caley put on a further 75.

Warn's 50 came from 146 balls, while Caley was a bit quicker, reaching the milestone from 91 balls.

Even so, the innings was in the balance when the third Catley brother, Matthew, came to the wicket at 207 for six. He rattled up his 49 from 55 deliveries and with Kevin Shaw's unbeaten 29 at the end, the psychological advantage of reaching 300 was achieved.

Cumberland were badly hit when main bowler David Pennett pulled up in his fifth over with a muscle pull in his leg, and they also lost Knox when he broke a finger trying to take a catch off Tim Catley.

Things soon got much worse for the northerners.

They lost their first wicket from the fifth ball of the opening over and then lost three wickets in three overs to stagger to 14 for four from eight overs. Matt Catley took a smart catch, one-handed to his left at short leg, while Trevor Smith and Paul King pinned the batsmen down.

"We capitalised on them being without their main strike bowler with a series of useful innings," said Brooks.

More good work is required in order to translate first-day's superiority into the victory that would kick-start Suffolk's season. But they have made the perfect start.