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Suffolk suffer last-ball NCCA Trophy quarter-final defeat to Oxfordshire



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Suffolk lost in heartbreaking fashion for the second successive season in the quarter-finals of the NCCA Trophy.

Oxfordshire’s Oliver Currill smashed 76 off 35 balls with three 4s and eight 6s as the home team chased down Suffolk’s 281-7 to win by three wickets off the last ball at Banbury CC on Sunday.

Suffolk had looked on course to secure a semi-final spot when Currill arrived at the crease with Oxfordshire on 173-5, still requiring 109 off 10.2 overs.

Suffolk skipper Tom Rash, whose side lost in heartbreaking fashion to Oxfordshire in the quarter-finals of this season’s NCCA Trophy. Picture: Nick Garnham (58075961)
Suffolk skipper Tom Rash, whose side lost in heartbreaking fashion to Oxfordshire in the quarter-finals of this season’s NCCA Trophy. Picture: Nick Garnham (58075961)

At the conclusion of the 46th over, 70 were needed with three wickets still standing after Darren Batch (10-0-40-2) and George Rhodes (10-1-32-0) had seemingly bowled Suffolk into a winning position.

The next three overs were flayed for 19, 22 and 17, leaving 12 to win off the final over bowled by Jack Beaumont. He limited Currill and Prav Chahal to eight off the first five deliveries, including an inside edge for four from the third ball, before Currill launched his eighth maximum off a waist-high full toss from the last ball to send Oxfordshire soaring into the semi-finals.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Suffolk posted 281-7 in their 50 overs, built around George Rhodes’ excellent 95 off 103 balls with seven fours.

He figured in a third-wicket stand of 80 with Alex Oxley (42 off 70 balls) in 19 overs, before Rhodes and Ben Parker (21 off 25 deliveries) added 54 in 10 overs.

After Rhodes departed with the score on 197-6 in the 42nd over, Suffolk were indebted to a partnership of 68 in only eight overs between Darren Ironside and Josh Cantrell for reaching their final total.

Ironside, who came into the side as a replacement for Covid victim Ben Claydon, scored a run-a-ball 45 and Cantrell 29 off 20 balls, before Tom Rash struck 11 from just three deliveries, including Suffolk’s only six off the last ball.

Suffolk skipper Rash said: “To go to Oxfordshire, who are favourites to win all three NCCA competitions at the moment, and lose in the manner we did was heartbreaking.

“We were fantastic for 96 overs of the match and then had a meltdown in the last four, although take nothing away from their lad (Currill) who played unbelievably well and smashed it everywhere.

“George Rhodes earlier had batted well and held the innings together, while Darren Ironside had a welcome return to form and had a good partnership with Josh Cantrell.

“We are all desperately disappointed, but despite the defeat I was really proud to lead those 10 players on the field for Suffolk.”

It is the second year running that Suffolk have lost off the last ball at this stage of the competition, after going down by five runs away to Cumbria last season.