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Suffolk secured a quarter-final place in this year’s NCCA Trophy after a three-point win over Herefordshire
Suffolk secured a quarter-final place in this year’s NCCA Trophy after a three-point win over Herefordshire

Suffolk secured a place in the quarter-finals of this year’s NCCA Trophy after an exceptional three-point victory over Herefordshire.

Tom Harper clung to a falling boundary catch in the wide mid-on to secure a nerve-wracking success at the picturesque Colwall CC at the foot of the Malvern Hills on Sunday.

Josh Cantrell’s side will face Cambridgeshire in the quarter-finals of the competition at Burwell & Exning CC this Sunday after finishing second behind Norfolk in Group 2.

George Rhodes strikes during his innings of 90 for Suffolk as Herefordshire wicket-keeper Luke Powell looks on during Sunday’s NCCA Trophy match at Colwall CC. Image: Nick Garnham

Herefordshire, who need to win to hopefully make the last eight on the basis of their net run rate, will be bummed that they could not get past the visitors’ 244 for 9 in their 50 overs.

Their aim was to exceed Suffolk’s total in 49.2 overs, so when they were 229 for 7 with five overs remaining, only 16 to go and three wickets in hand, the odds were in their favour.

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James Rudge then suffered a rush of blood to his head and was pushed off Josh Cantrell by Jacob Marston. Marston had previously wasted a similar opportunity to send top scorer Ollie Walker off the pitch.

Cantrell took a well-judged catch at deep mid-off and took Walker, who scored 82 off 88 deliveries and seemed to be leading his team to victory, off the first ball of Darren Ironside’s next over.

The home team were then at 233 for 9, but needed three more overs to reach their target. However, after the last pair added another eight runs and only four were needed, Sam Keeling-Wright hit a hole out to Harper off the bowling of Raj Singh.

This was the only Herefordshire wicket not to fall to Suffolk’s quartet of off-spinners, with captain Cantrell taking excellent figures of 10-0-32-4 on a surface that allowed for spin and bounce.

He received good support from Harper, Ironside and George Rhodes, who had earlier provoked a failure by opener Taylor Cornall (48 off 54), with Alex Maynard taking a great pike catch at deep mid-wicket.

This left Herefordshire at 89 for 4 after 21 overs and 125 for 6 in the 31st over before Walker and Luke Powell came back to the top with a seventh wicket stand of 75.

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Suffolk’s total was based on Rhodes’ superb 90. In his three seasons at Suffolk, this is the third time he has been dismissed in the 90s in this competition without reaching three figures.

Arriving at the batting crease in the tenth over after Ironside was dismissed for a juggling catch on the third ball, Rhodes showed his class, scoring eight boundaries and a sixer from 113 balls faced.

Ben Parker scored half of the additional 44 for the fifth wicket in 10 overs before being adjudged trapped at the wicket, but it was Marston who gave the innings the real momentum in the final 15 overs.

His 37 from 31 balls, with two fours and three sixes, took Suffolk to a competitive total that proved to be just enough.

Marston said of Suffolk’s success afterwards: “I’m not sure how we did it, but we did it! Winning is a habit and we have it at the moment, which is great.”

Cricket

By Isla