Suffolk sitting pretty

CRICKET: Suffolk sit top of the Eastern Division table of the Minor Counties Championship this morning after beating Bedfordshire by 53 runs yesterday.

CRICKET

SUFFOLK sit top of the Eastern Division table of the Minor Counties Championship this morning after beating Bedfordshire by 53 runs yesterday.

With just one game to play against Buckinghamshire, starting at Mildenhall on August 18, Suffolk will be keenly awaiting the outcome of the final day of Norfolk's match against Cumberland today.

A Norfolk win would put them on top, but even if they temporarily dispose Suffolk from pole position nothing should distract from the manner of their victory at Wardown Park, Luton yesterday.

After losing all but 52 minutes of Monday's second day, the two skippers agreed to make a match of it as Bedfordshire, who went into the match in top spot, declared at their overnight 70 for four – still 267 runs adrift of Suffolk's first innings 337.

Suffolk then declared at 27 for one after just 8.2 overs in their second innings to set Bedfordshire 295 to win in 70 overs.

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A 44-ball half-century from opener David Roberts put the home side on course before he fell to a superb slip catch by Trevor Smith.

The match was evenly poised at tea with Bedfordshire 176 for five and 26 overs remaining, but Suffolk then assumed control with Paul King removing James Knott for a patient 54, caught by substitute fielder Andy Fairbairn.

Mark Patterson was run out going for a second run to fine leg to Ian Morton, who had removed both openers, before Suffolk finished with a flourish.

Captain Phil Caley pulled off a stunning one-handed catch diving high to his left backward of square leg to account for Sean Rashid.

Smith then struck with the very next ball to trap Rob Pack lbw as Bedfordshire's last three wickets fell with the score on 241.

Kevin Brooks, Suffolk's director of cricket, said afterwards: "We did not bowl very well before lunch as Bedfordshire got themselves off to an ideal start, but the key passage of play was between lunch and tea when we dragged ourselves back into the game.

"Paul King bowled particularly well at this juncture before Trevor Smith wrapped up the win with two wickets in two balls at the end.

"We played all the cricket in this game and we have enjoyed a little bit of luck at last."

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