Ben Claydon's century sets up Suffolk for victory against Cheshire and books NCCA Trophy quarter-final meeting with Oxfordshire
A 66-run victory over Cheshire means Suffolk will be away to Oxfordshire in the quarter-finals of this season’s NCCA Trophy.
Suffolk finished runners-up in Group 3 as a result of Sunday’s superb win at Didsbury CC and they will now face the side who they lost to in last season’s NCCA Championship Play-Off Final.
The tie will be played on Sunday, July 17 at a venue yet to be confirmed, after Oxfordshire booked their place in the last eight with a one-run win versus Lincolnshire.
After Suffolk won the toss and elected to bat first, Ben Claydon scored a splendid 123 off 127 balls containing 16 fours and shared a fourth wicket stand of 137 with his Copdock & Old Ipswichian team-mate Alex Oxley, who made 50 from 75 balls.
They came together in the 13th over after a mix-up between Claydon and Jack Beaumont, whose 31 occupied 29 balls, saw the latter run out as he turned for a second run only to be sent back.
Over the next 26 overs Claydon and Oxley provided the platform for Sudbury's Ben Parker to then smash 50, with six fours and three sixes, off just 22 balls in a stand of 65 spanning just 5.2 overs with Claydon.
They both fell in the space of six balls to leave Suffolk 280-6 with five overs remaining, before the visitors lost their last four wickets in four overs as they were dismissed for 304 with one over unused.
The hosts were racing along at 131-2 in the 22nd overs when bowler Matt Allen deflected a straight drive onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end to run out Cheshire skipper Robert Sehmi for 73 off just 64 deliveries.
That proved to be the pivotal moment of the match as Cheshire lost three further wickets in the following six overs to slide to 166-6, with Josh Frame claiming his first wicket on debut.
Bury St Edmunds' Josh Cantrell then wrapped up victory for Suffolk with the last three wickets to fall to finish with three for 51, while there were two wickets apiece for Mildenhall duo Allen and Tom Rash.
Suffolk centurion Claydon, speaking afterwards, said: “It was a really good team performance. We had a chat this morning and pretty much managed to pull off our game plan.
“It was a nice way to bounce back after a disappointing result against Cambridgeshire. Cheshire are a decent white-ball side so we are all very pleased to come away with a victory.”
He said of his partnership with Oxley: “I was really pleased to see him bat well and take his opportunity. He played nicely.
“Their spinners had a spell where they bowled quite well, but we managed to rotate the strike and put the bad ball away and it was really about setting it up for the last ten as we felt like we could get to 40 overs with seven wickets left we would have the platform to push on.”
Suffolk play their first three-day NCCA Championship match of the season, starting on Sunday, versus Lincolnshire at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds.