Bedfordshire battle back for draw
The strength of Bedfordshire’s batting line-up was underlined in a creditable draw with Cumberland in the Unicorns Championship match at Furness which ended on Tuesday.
Unfortunately the weakness of the bowling attack was also apparent after George Bacon pulled out on the eve of the match and Shabbz Hussain suffered another finger injury which meant he bowled only three overs in the match.
There was a bit in the pitch on the first morning and Bedfordshire had to work hard for their runs early on after they had been put in.
George Thurstance batted beautifully though and it came as a complete surprise when he was bowled by Richardson just six runs short of a century.
Jon Carpenter and Hussain played aggressively towards the end, but Hussain had to retire hurt after being hit.
When the ninth wicket fell with three runs still required for a third bonus point, Hussain came out again and hit the boundary which achieved the target as Beds declared on 276-9.
The wicket was by now perfect for batting and although Martin Weightman picked up an early wicket, Miles and Carruthers were soon in full flow.
On the second morning though, Carpenter troubled the batsmen with his off-spin, finishing with 5-107, but Cumberland skipper Gary Pratt went on the rampage, romping to 135 not out.
The hosts should probably have declared when they achieved their fourth batting point on 325 but they took up the full 90 overs and reached 401-7.
When Cumberland claimed four wickets before close on the second day it seemed as skipper Pratt’s tactics might pay off, but the next morning saw Dan Blacktopp move to 93 before getting a bottom edge to slip.
Wicketkeeper Alex Martin (57) and Weightman (55) then added 108 after which Cumberland adopted strange tactics by putting on part time bowlers as if trying to attempt Bedfordshire to declare, which was never going to happen.
Carpenter walloped 92 from 91 balls before being left stranded when Hussain was out as Beds were dismissed for 443, leaving Cumberland around 30 overs to score 319.
They reached 127-4 off 17 overs when the captains agreed to the draw.