Suffolk come up just short
Despite a 106-run victory over Cambridgeshire in their final fixture in the Eastern Division of the Unicorns Championship, Suffolk Minor Counties had to settle for the runners-up spot for the second year running.
Lincolnshire – who claimed a narrow two-point win in the division after being the victors in a shortened match, caused by rain delays, away to Cumberland – will enter a play-off against Berkshire after pipping Suffolk to the Eastern Division title by two points.
Suffolk, led by their captain, Sudbury’s Adam Mansfield and also including The Talbots’ Martyn Cull, did all they could in their final game, which saw them beat their county neighbours at Saffron Walden across the three-day fixture.
Former Sudbury player Jack Beaumont had a big role as he picked up four wickets for just 21 runs in the final innings to turn the tables of the game.
Winning the toss, Suffolk batted first and amassed 232 in their first innings (Mansfield 31, Cull 33).
Beaumont hit the side’s second best knock with 36 while Jaik Mickleburgh top scored with 78. Cambridgeshire’s James Sykes (7-82) ripped through the Suffolk order.
In reply, Suffolk’s bowlers kept the wickets flowing – although a 101-run partnership in the middle threatened to derail the chase.
But Josh Cantrell (2-70), Oliver Bocking (4-74) and Michael Comber (3-56) made important contributions as Cambs reached 253, a lead of just 21 runs.
In Suffolk’s second innings, another 70 from Mickleburgh, 46 from Tom Rash and 37 for tail-ender Oliver Bocking helped the side to a 290 total in 90.5 overs to set-up a final innings showdown.
And Suffolk got off to a strong start, taking two early wickets to leave Cambs on 2-2.
Although they recovered due to the fast hitting of Ballard, Beaumont took his key wicket on 75 runs to leave the team chasing 172.
Suffolk’s bowlers again kept up the pressure and halted Cambs on 163.
But the result of the league leaders’ final match did not go Suffolk’s way as they narrowly lost out on an Eastern Division top spot after the rain in Carlisle relented and allowed Lincolnshire, who pipped them to the title last year, to set up victory over Cumberland with two forfeited innings.
Reigning champions Berkshire and Lincolnshire will meet for the third time in succession in the play-off final at Banbury from September 16-19 (10.30am).
l After reaching their first ever national final, Suffolk Under-17s (148) lost by seven wickets to Leicestershire (149-3) in the Royal London Cup on August 29 at Attenborough.
l Haverhill (151-2) made history on Sunday at Bury St Edmunds CC by lifting their first ever Suffolk T20 Cup after defeating Copdock & Old Ipswichians (150-9) in the final. Reigning champions Sudbury had gone out in the group stage.