Beds do their best to toss it away

BEDFORDSHIRE’S schoolboy attempt at a run chase almost led to defeat by Suffolk in their Minor Counties Championship match at Luton on Tuesday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th June 2011, 5:59 pm

In the end they managed to salvage a draw thanks to resolute defence by Ziggy Arshad and Alastair Craig as Suffolk sensed a remarkable victory.

Having twice bowled out Suffolk in a game reduced to two days after rain on Sunday, Bedfordshire were left to score 137 in 17 overs.

With no one-day restrictions on wide bowling and field placings it was always an unlikely ask and by the end of the first over, in which they lost three wickets without posting a run, an impossible one.

Dan Simpson was caught at slip, Steve Stubbings run out by a direct hit and Martin Weightman bowled.

But instead of shutting up shop there and then, Bedfordshire continued to blaze away.

Greg Evans edged to slip, skipper Ollie Clayson skied a catch to mid-off and when George Arblaster was caught behind, Bedfordshire were reeling at 35-6 with 12 overs left.

Suffolk surrounded the bat, but Arshad and Craig gritted their teeth to take the score to 53 without further disaster.

It had all gone pretty well for Bedfordshire before then with the bowlers taking the honours as they dismissed Suffolk for 195 and 154.

The visitors would have been in real trouble in their first innings had it not been for knocks of 54 by Tim Huggins and 67 not out by Ben France.

Colin Griggs led the way for Bedfordshire with 4-29, Andy McGarry took 3-50 and Arshad 3-59.

All the early Bedfordshire batsmen got past 20 in the hosts reply, but only Weightman went on to a half-century, making 51

Nevertheless at 206-5, Bedfordshire looked set for a couple more batting points. A hat-trick by Justin Bishop shattered those hopes though and Bedfordshire had to settle for an 18-run lead as they were dismissed for 213.

With so much time lost to the weather, Beds needed to bowl out Suffolk cheaply and quickly in their second innings to stand a chance of forcing a win.

Thanks to a magnificent effort by McGarry (5-36) they achieved the first part but Suffolk hung around long enough to make Bedfordshire’s task a more than challenging one.

In the end both sides went home with nine points.

Bedfordshire now have a month’s break before taking on Cumberland at Sedburgh School on July 10.

Scores: Bedfordshire 213 and 51-6. Suffolk 195 and 154.