Suffolk have ECB hopes dashed

CRICKET: Suffolk crashed out of the ECB 38 county competition with a seven-wicket defeat against Bedfordshire at Woodbridge School.A win would have taken Suffolk into the quarter-finals but they struggled after they lost the toss and were forced to bat first.


SUFFOLK crashed out of the ECB 38 county competition with a seven-wicket defeat against Bedfordshire at Woodbridge School.

A win would have taken Suffolk into the quarter-finals but they struggled after they lost the toss and were forced to bat first.

They got off to a bad start when the impressive John Green took the wicket of Matt Catley after he had scored four. Green was nearly in the wickets again as Russell Catley and Andrew Mawson were both dropped in what appeared to be simple chances in the ninth over.

Suffolk couldn't take advantage of this good fortune and after Russell Catley and Trevor Smith were dismissed, the home side were in trouble at 37 for 3.

An entertaining 25 from Mawson, in his first game for the county, was ended by a superb catch from Rob Pack before captain Phil Caley steadied the Suffolk ship.

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Suffolk needed a solid middle-order partnership, but Bedfordshire did well to get the wickets of Chris Warn and Ian Morton. Warn was spectacularly caught by a diving Dave Roberts before a smart piece of wicket keeping by James Knott saw Ian Morton stumped.

Suffolk's chances now rested on Phil Caley but two needless run outs of Tristan Jervis and Kevin Shaw followed and the home side never looked like setting a target they had hoped for.

Caley battled on before being bowled by Andy Roberts to fall one short of a deserved half century, but his team would have been disappointed with a total of 134.

At the interval player coach Andy Brown, missing from the team due to injury, tested his players in fielding and catching practise. With only a small total to defend Suffolk would have to take all chances they were presented with but when Russell Catley dropped Neil Stanley early in the Bedfordshire innings it seemed it would not be their day.

Trevor Smith got his reward from a lively and sometimes hostile opening spell of bowling when he took the wicket of Dave Roberts and at 20 for one Suffolk had got the breakthrough they needed.

However, they could not capitalise on this and Neil Stanley with 54 and David Clarke (46) denied any hopes of a local victory as they sent the Suffolk attack to all parts of the Woodbridge School ground.

Mark Geeves, a late replacement for James East who pulled a back muscle on Saturday, gained a late success when he caught Clarke off of his own bowling.

It was not enough as Knott and Andy Roberts saw Bedfordshire home with 19 overs and one ball remaining and they now face Sussex CB in a home quarter final tie.

A disappointed Caley said his side were always in trouble after failing to set a big enough target for Bedfordshire to chase.

"I don't think we batted very well," said Caley. "We didn't apply ourselves early on and I'm a bit disappointed in that. One or two of the boys were out because of loose shots and I think that's where we lost it. We bowled tidily but with them chasing 134 off of 50 overs, we had very little chance.

"I reckon we were about 50/60 runs short and 200 would have been a good chase for them. If they needed four an over it might have been interesting and we could have set some proper fields but we had to attack. We had to take wickets so the boundaries were easy to come by for them."

Caley was involved in two run outs but brushed them off as just bad luck and as part of the game.

"It's always disappointing for players to be run out," said Caley. "These things happen but you don't normally see two in a game. I shouted yes twice at Tristan and he eventually ran but it was a bit too late and their keeper responded well to turn, throw and hit the stumps. Shawsy called me for a single but I was sitting on my backside having played the sweep shot and I couldn't get up so he had to go."

Suffolk player coach Andy Brown added: "The ball swung early on but as a batter that is part of the game and its about learning to combat that. If someone gets 60 or 70 then you are in the game but only Cales, again, looked anything like performing for us. They fielded very well so credit to them and they took some good catches.

With Brown and ex-England international Bill Athey missing from the side the Suffolk team had a youthful look and these players looked to have been missed.

Brown said: "In days like today a bit of experience would have given us a chance but we have a young side. These guys will only benefit from playing in games like these against a good side. Bedfordshire have got some good players but they are pulling people in from left, right and centre and it has worked for them. But in three, four or five years time where are these players going to be. We are going the other way and giving Suffolk boys a chance and you are only going to find out how good they are by giving them this stage to play on."

Caley concluded: "You don't just walk into Minor Counties cricket and blast a ton without thinking about the game. It will be a couple of years before the boys can settle down at this level but they are learning."

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