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Covid-19 concerns cause Suffok's NCCA Championship fixture against Norfolk at Horsford CC to be abandoned ahead of second day




Josh Cantrell’s best day yet in a Suffolk shirt ultimately counted for little as the National Counties Cricket Association Championship match against Norfolk was abandoned due to Covid concerns.

The match was called off ahead of the second day’s play at Horsford CC after one of the Norfolk players provided a positive test.

It was hugely frustrating for all concerned – Norfolk had corporate hospitality guests already arriving, while Suffolk felt they were in the driving seat after twice battling back on the opening day.

Bury St Edmunds' Josh Cantrell cuts the ball for four during his innings of 71 for Suffolk against Norfolk at Manor Park Picture: Nick Garnham
Bury St Edmunds' Josh Cantrell cuts the ball for four during his innings of 71 for Suffolk against Norfolk at Manor Park Picture: Nick Garnham

After winning the toss and electing to bat first at Manor Park, Suffolk had slipped to 63-5 inside 25 overs.

Essex batsman Feroze Khushi showed his class with a composed 65 off 85 deliveries laced with five fours and two sixes as he shared a stand of 76 for the sixth wicket with Sudbury’s Ben Parker.

Both fell leg before soon after lunch – the same mode of dismissal as Joe Gatting, much to his obvious disappointment.

Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Cantrell, batting at No.8, made his third half century in consecutive matches for the county, before registering his highest score yet of 71.

He was last man out after vital stands of 76 with skipper Jack Beaumont and 44 with head coach and Woolpit captain Andy Northcote, who was making his Championship debut.

After deputising for injured wicket-keeper Adam Mansfield in the first innings of the victory over Cambridgeshire, Northcote took the gloves from the start, with the Sudbury gloveman dropping out due to attending a funeral on Tuesday.

Those lower-order runs enabled Suffolk to scramble to 269 all out, albeit not using 12 of their permitted maximum 90 first-innings overs.

Norfolk had moved serenely to 119-1 – Nottinghamshire’s Ben Compton the only wicket to fall – as the home batsmen took advantage of some wayward Suffolk bowling.

It was then that Sam Arthurton was caught trying to sweep Beaumont to provide the catalyst for a dramatic collapse as Cantrell took centre stage.

Mildenhall's Darren Ironside clung on to a very difficult chance running back from mid-on to account for Ben Wilcox, whose 57 occupied 83 balls, and then Northcote displayed razor sharp reflexes to catch Tom New.

Cantrell then produced successive deliveries that turned appreciably to clean bowl Will Rogers and Jason Reynolds to leave Norfolk’s reply in disarray at 132-6.

However, he was denied the chance of both a first hat-trick and a five-wicket haul at this level when play was abandoned the following day.

With Norfolk 137 runs adrift with four first-innings wicket in hand, Suffolk were strongly-placed, so the eight points awarded apiece seemed scant reward for their efforts.

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