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Report from Allan Smith - 230619

Staffordshire’s three day Unicorns Championship cricket season got off to a damp squib in Suffolk as heavy rain overnight after the second days play saw water get under the covers onto the pitch meaning that the third and final days play was abandoned resulting in the match being drawn with Suffolk gaining 11 points and Staffs 10. Indeed all the other Eastern Division matches suffered a similar fate with the exception of champions Lincolnshire who not only beat Cumberland they beat the weather by claiming victory inside two days.


Hosts Suffolk chose to bat first and took full advantage of a flat track to post a first innings score of 393.8 from their permitted 90 overs. !8 year-old opener Alex Oxley benefited from the Staffs attack bowling to short as he recorded a first century for the county, before being dismissed having made 124. Kyran Young contributed 51 before some big hitting from Ben , who struck 91 from 61 balls, powered Suffolk towards their first innings total. Left-arm spinner Paul Byrne bowled 25 overs and, despite some late punishment from Shepperson, finished with figures of 3-109 while skipper Kadeer Ali picked up 3-77.


Late on the first day Staffs lost debutant Dan Mousley for 14 to close the day on 45.1.


Resuming their innings Staffs found the going much tougher in conditions that favoured the bowlers and were unable to dominate with the bat. Kadeer Ali departed for 41 before Michael Hill with 71 and Matthew Morris 73 looked to have put Staffs on course to gain the maximum batting bonus points. However their dismissals in consecutive overs saw the Staffs innings stutter to 323.8, just 2 runs short of the necessary 325, despite the best efforts of Peter Wilshaw who hit seven boundaries and two sixes in his unbeaten 66.


Suffolk extended their first innings lead of 70 by reaching 35 at the close of play on the second day for the loss of first innings centurion Oxley to a good delivery from Brinder Phagura but that was to prove to be last of the action with both captains shaking hands prior to the scheduled start of the final day with the wicket deemed unplayable.


Staffs are next in action this Sunday 30th June when they take on Cambridgeshire in the quarter-final of the Unicorns Trophy at Knypersley Cricket Club. The 50 over a side game starts at 11am and admission is free.

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