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Win and a loss against Cambridgeshire leaves Suffolk with it all to do in bid to qualify for Unicorns T20 finals day

By Sport Bury

Suffolk have it all to do if they are to qualify from their group for this season’s Unicorns T20 finals day.

Darren Batch, who scored an undefeated 37 at a run-a-ball as Suffolk beat Cambridgeshire in the first T20 match at Woolpit CC on Sunday. Picture: Nick Garnham
Darren Batch, who scored an undefeated 37 at a run-a-ball as Suffolk beat Cambridgeshire in the first T20 match at Woolpit CC on Sunday. Picture: Nick Garnham

A win and a loss to Cambridgeshire at Woolpit CC on Sunday, means Suffolk have won two and lost two of their four group games at the mid-way point of their campaign.

Just as they did against Norfolk at Horsford on May Day, Suffolk won the opening encounter and then lost the second match.

Despite opening bowler Matt Hunn pulling up injured after sending down just eight deliveries, Suffolk restricted Cambridgeshire to 133-9, thanks to spinners Josh Cantrell (Bury St Edmunds) and Ben Reece (Sudbury) both claiming 2-20 off their four overs and Ollie Bocking taking three late wickets.

Although Jaik Mickleburgh fell for just four, Suffolk eased to a seven-wicket win with ten balls remaining.

Culford School student Alex Oxley (24) and Jake Foley (31) paved the way and Ben Shepperson (Mildenhall, 32no off 19 balls) and Sudbury’s Darren Batch (37 at a run-a-ball) then shared an unbroken stand of 63.

In the second match the visitors posted an imposing 168-8, after openers Waqas Hussain (52) and Eddie Ballard (34) put on 80, Bocking and Cantrell taking two wickets apiece.

Suffolk slipped to 24-4 before Shepperson (29) and his Mildenhall team-mate Tom Rash (38) rallied the home team with a stand of 62, before the innings ebbed away as Suffolk were dismissed for 141 to condemn them to a 27-run defeat.

Suffolk head coach And Northcote said: “The positive now, is that we know what we have to do to qualify and that is win four games out of four.

“We have stuttered both afternoons in the competition so far so will need to find a way to overturn that, and I am fully confident that we can do so. The boys are playing patches of incredibly good cricket so stringing these together is the next step.”

Northcote said that it is not known how long Hunn’s side strain will keep him out of action.

“Although early days, we understand it is not as bad as the side strain that saw him miss six weeks last year for Kent. However, he will undoubtedly miss some cricket for us or Copdock. Hopefully he will be back by the next round but we are not too sure at this stage,” he said.

Despite Suffolk’s mixed fortunes, Northcote said there were positives to take from the day.

He said: “The spin pairing of Ben Reece and Josh Cantrell bowled particularly well in the first match and, in essence, brought us back in to the game and set the platform for the win.

“Their eight overs, which went for 4-40, really stunted their innings in the middle overs and Ollie Bocking bowled well at the death, picking up three wickets.

“It was equally pleasing to see Darren Batch score runs which will hopefully kick-start his season whilst Ben Shepperson continued to strike the ball well for us.

“Shepperson went well again in the second match, and it was nice to see Tom Rash score a few too. Both really are becoming the backbone across all formats for us and watching them bat together can be very exciting. With the two of them at the crease, we were still in with a shout.”

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