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Kent Spitfires all-rounder Darren Stevens full of praise for Woolpit Cricket Club after 50-over match against Suffolk

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Woolpit Cricket Club have been praised for their hosting of Suffolk’s Showcase fixture versus Kent Spitfires.

The first-class county defeated Suffolk by 140 runs in Sunday’s 50-over match, which was watched by just over 1,000 spectators.

A total of 722 runs were scored during the course of the match, with Kent compiling 431-7 before Suffolk replied with 291-5.

Kent Spitfires’ veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens, who scored 34 off 21 deliveries and sent down five overs for just 12 runs, was quick to praise the groundstaff.

“I thought the pitch was very good – a little bit of pace and a little bit of bounce in it and it spun towards the end there, so it was a good cricket pitch,” he said.

A gloomy forecast and two short breaks for rain during the Kent innings threatened to spoil the occasion, but the weather brightened up as the day went on.

Suffolk CC chairman Andrew Squire said: “Apart from the weather at the start, the day has gone as well as I expected, which has been down to lots of hard work from Andy Northcote and Woolpit Cricket Club.

“Andy has been instrumental in driving this this forward and the day has been a great showcase for Suffolk Cricket and has shown people what Suffolk Cricket and the National Counties Cricket Association is all about.”

Woolpit CC president Dr Richard West MBE said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic day. To have more than 700 runs scored says volumes about the quality of the pitch and we have seen a good game of cricket.

“Everybody has been very complimentary and we hope we have done the club and county proud.

“I would like to thank everybody for their help – it has been very much a team effort with over 50 volunteers and everyone has played a part and I would like to thank them for their help and support in putting this event on.”

Meanwhile, Darren Ironside is hopeful Suffolk’s display against can act as a springboard for the rest of the season.

The Mildenhall all-rounder Ironside scored an undefeated 53 off 42 balls with five 4s and a 6 as Suffolk scored a respectable 291-5 in their 50 overs in reply to the Spitfires’ 431-7.

He said: “It’s nice to test yourself against professional players and it has been a good day’s cricket. Of course, it would have been nice to win, but we showed ourselves in a good light.

“I went out to try to have some fun. The game was effectively already won and lost by the time I went into bat, but we wanted to finish with a decent total, even if it was in a losing cause.

“It is always nice to score runs and I have probably been due some runs for Suffolk.”

Suffolk, who sit bottom of Eastern Division One after suffering heavy defeats in their opening two NCCA Championship, face Staffordshire and Bedfordshire, both away, later this month.

They need to win at least one, if not both, of their remaining three-day fixtures to avoid relegation, and Ironside said: “We have clearly not been at our best in our two Championship matches so far, but we showed we are a good side last season when we won the Eastern Division.

“We can take confidence from our display today and there is no reason why we can’t put in the performances we need to and get two wins.”