STAFFS v CUMBERLAND
Report form Allan Smith - 160619
Staffordshire’s involvement in this season’s Unicorns T20 competition ended as it began with a whimper as heavy rain at Knypersley saw Cumberland win the first game on the Duckworth/Lewis method before seeing the second match totally washed out after a further heavy downpour brought an early end to proceedings. The results meant that Staffs finished bottom of their group with just three points from their eight matches and continued to highlight their inept showing at this format of the game.
Asked to bat first by the visitors, the Staffs innings followed an all too familiar performance with the top four getting the innings off to a reasonable start on a slow wicket before the now all to regular collapse. Peter Wilshaw 23, Ryan Hassett 13, Michael Hill 41 and Louis Allison 24 all made useful contributions to enable Staffs reach 102.3 before the seemingly inevitable collapse saw the innings close on 123.6. Adam Syddall and Jacques Du Toit both picked up two wickets for the visitors.
Cumberland openers got off to a flier against, at best, a very poor opening spell from the Staffs attack. A rain break brought a halt to the onslaught before on the resumption Cumberland had reached 89.3 from just 11.5 overs when more rain brought a halt to the game, resulting in victory for the visitors. Skipper Gary Pratt led the charge with 54 from just 32 balls including five boundaries and two sixes with fellow opener Sam Dutton contributing 21. Walsall pace man Billy-J Cox had figures of 2-9 as Staffs hit back late in the innings with Checkley off-spinner Richard Williams the other wicket taker.
The result did neither county any favours as Lincolnshire progressed through to finals day despite losing their first match in this season’s competition to Cheshire, but the one point from their second abandoned game was sufficient to ensure them top spot in the group.
Staffordshire now have two vital games as they travel to play Suffolk at Copdock starting next Sunday in their opening three day championship match before returning to Knypersley the following Sunday to take on Cambridgeshire in the quarter final of the 50 overs a side Unicorns Trophy.