SUFFOLK captain Justin Bishop admitted he was devastated after Suffolk exited the MCCA Knockout Trophy at the hands of Cambridgeshire.
In the winner-takes-all Group Four encounter at Bury St Edmunds’ Victory Ground, Bishop (20 & 2-41) and his Bury team-mates Tom Huggins (21 & 0-11) and Scott Harvey (10) were part of the Suffolk side that suffered a four-wicket defeat.
Following their exit from the 50-over-a-side competition, which Suffolk won in 2007, they must now turn their attentions to the three-day format when they travel to Bedfordshire for their opening Minor Counties Championship match.
“It’s something we are looking forward to,” said Bishop. “Three days of cricket is a long time, much longer than we usually play. If we win four of our six matches, we will be there or thereabouts.”
To qualify for the final, Suffolk will need to finish top of the 10-team Eastern Division to set up a showpiece against the winners of the Western Division.
Each side plays just six matches, but it is a format Suffolk know well having shared the title with Cheshire in 2005. The last time Suffolk won the title outright was in 1979.
Bishop, Harvey and Huggins are all due to line up for Suffolk when the three-day match away to Bedfordshire gets under way at 11am on Sunday.
However, they will have to get over the disappointment of their MCCA Knockout Trophy exit quickly to make a good start in Luton, especially after Bishop felt the match against Cambridgeshire could have gone either way.
Bishop said: “I don’t think we let the hype get to us and approached it as any other game. We didn’t get as many runs as we could have, but it wasn’t really a high-scoring wicket. Between 200 and 220 would have been par.
“We always say that someone has to get 100 in our top five to set the game up, but even a gritty 70 or 80 would have done the job for us.
“We had five guys reach the 20s and get out, which is not good enough.”
Sunday’s defeat to Cambridgeshire completed a miserable weekend for Bishop.
Despite his unbeaten century for Bury St Edmunds at Horsford on Saturday, the Norfolk outfit chased down Bury’s 223-3 relatively easily.
Bishop said: “The difference between the two teams was they had three quality spinners – it was difficult to get their deliveries away from the square.
“We stuttered up to 223-3 and probably thought we had a chance, but the pitch did flatten out during the course of the day and our seamers were not really able to get the ball to swing.”
Next up for Bury is a home clash against Vauxhall Mallards at the Victory Ground tomorrow (11am).
“We have got a reasonable record against Mallards, even though they are one of the most successful teams in the league’s history,” added Bishop.