Suffolk's cup hopes hanging by a thread

SUFFOLK'S hopes of reaching Lord's in the final of the Minor Counties Knock-Out Cup hang by a thread - but Suffolk's director of cricket Kevin Brooks is putting on a brave face.

By Elvin King

SUFFOLK'S hopes of reaching Lord's in the final of the Minor Counties Knock-Out Cup hang by a thread - but Suffolk's director of cricket Kevin Brooks is putting on a brave face.

It would be a fitting tribute to his loyalty if the county were to reach the game's headquarters for a memorable day out on August 16.

In the winter he was overlooked for a £20,000-plus full time role as Suffolk's cricket development manager after many years of voluntarily running the county's teams.

Brooks decided to carry on for one more season and although he has a side good enough to reach Lord's, his hopes could well have been dashed by the weather.

“It is very frustrating,” he said after yesterday's match at Audley against Stafford-

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shire was rained off without a ball being bowled.

“You cannot legislate for the weather, particularly at this time of the season.

“We have had our chances of reaching Lord's having played in two semi-finals in the previous three years.

“We did not do ourselves justice in those matches against Shropshire and Berkshire, so we cannot complain too much at the position in which we now find ourselves.

“If Staffordshire win the group they will deserve to go through.”

Reaching Lord's is now out of Suffolk's hands. Their bad luck with the weather has left them depending on Bedfordshire beating Staffs when the last round of group games take place on Sunday, June 4.

Suffolk showed commendable spirit and no little skill in beating both Beds and Norfolk at home in the two group games they played.

However, with their match at Lincolnshire also falling foul of this month's dreadful wet weather, Suffolk face the frustrating prospect of remaining unbeaten but still going out of the competition.

With one point for a no-result yesterday, Suffolk currently top the group with six, although they have finished their fixtures while Staffs still have one more game to play.

Staffs will reach seven points if they collect two for their third win in the group.

To a make matters worse for Suffolk, if the game on June 4 is rained off and both teams end with six points Staffs will go through as they have a better average run rate, having won both their games in rain-shortened matches.

“We have a side capable of winning the Cup, but we now have to keep our fingers crossed that Beds can do us a favour,” added Brooks, who had no complaints at the game being called off soon after 1pm.

It rained on and off on Saturday in the area and through the night. It rained from the time Suffolk arrived at the ground at 9.30am and there were puddles on the outfield by 1pm.

The counties that top the four groups play in the semi-finals with the winners qualifying for Lord's.

Suffolk turn their attentions to the Minor Counties Championship at the weekend when they play Norfolk in a three-day game that starts at Mildenhall on Sunday.

They will be looking to win the Eastern Division for the second year running, with former England contracted player Chris Schofield making his Suffolk Championship debut.

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