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Suffolk secure quarter-final spot in this season’s NCCA Trophy after three-run victory over Herefordshire





Suffolk secured a quarter-final spot in this season’s NCCA Trophy after an extraordinary three-run victory over Herefordshire.

Tom Harper clung onto a tumbling boundary catch at wide mid-on to clinch a nail-biting success on Sunday at picturesque Colwall CC at the foot of the Malvern Hills.

Josh Cantrell’s side will now face Cambridgeshire at Burwell & Exning CC this Sunday in the last eight of the competition after finishing second in Group 2 to Norfolk.

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

Herefordshire, needing to win to hopefully progress to the last eight on net run-rate, will be kicking themselves at failing to overhaul the visitors’ 244 for 9 in their 50 overs.

Their target was to pass Suffolk’s total inside 49.2 overs, so when they stood on 229 for 7 with five overs remaining and requiring just 16 with three wickets in hand, the odds were stacked in their favour.

James Rudge then had a rush of blood to the head and was stumped off Josh Cantrell by Jacob Marston, who had earlier missed a similar opportunity to dismiss top-scorer Ollie Walker.

Cantrell took a well-judged catch at deep mid off to remove Walker, whose 82 from 88 deliveries appeared to be leading his side to victory, from the first ball of Darren Ironside’s next over.

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

That was the only Herefordshire wicket not to fall to Suffolk’s quartet of off-spinners, with captain Cantrell returning excellent figures of 10-0-32-4, on a surface which offered turn and bounce.

He received good support from Harper, Ironside and George Rhodes, who earlier induced a false stroke from opener Taylor Cornall (48 off 54) which saw Alex Maynard take a splendid diving catch at deep mid-wicket.

That left Herefordshire 89 for 4 from 21 overs, which became 125 for 6 in the 31st over, before Walker and Luke Powell compiled a seventh-wicket stand of 75 to put them back on top.

Suffolk’s total was built around an excellent 90 from Rhodes – the third time he has been dismissed in the nineties in this competition in his three seasons with Suffolk without reaching three figures.

Arriving at the crease in the tenth over after a juggling catch saw Ironside dismissed for a third-ball duck, Rhodes showed his class, scoring eight boundaries and one six from 113 deliveries received.

Ben Parker scored half of the added 44 for the fifth wicket in 10 overs, before he was adjudged caught at the wicket, but it was Marston who gave the innings real impetus in the final 15 overs.

His 37 off 31 balls with two fours and three sixes pushed Suffolk towards a competitive total which was to prove just enough.

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