Staffordshire v Cambridge match reportStaffordshire made it three wins out of three to open up a 16 point lead at the top of the Unicorns Eastern Division Championship, but those bare statistics don’t go anywhere near describing the drama and tension that brought about the final outcome.
After setting visitors Cambridgeshire 383 to win on a still excellent batting wicket at Checkley, the Staffs bowlers and in particular captain Kadeer Ali had to show plenty of patience and persistence before finally claiming the final wicket with less than 15 minutes of the match remaining. Even the final wicket produced a moment of drama as Sam Kelsall juggled the catch at slip off last man Sam Rippington three times before finally clutching on to the ball and being mobbed by his team mates and even then it seemed an eternity before the umpire raised his finger to confirm the victory.
An eighth wicket partnership between Recordo Gordon (63not out) & Josh Bowers (28) looked to be the stumbling block for Staffs but, having claimed the second new ball, Tim Maxfield saw Bowers feather a leg side glance into the grateful gloves of debutant wicket keeper Andy Carr which set up the final drama as Rippington edged a delivery from Paul Byrne into the slip cordon for Kelsall to eventually cling on and earn Staffs 21 points from the win.
Earlier in the day solid knocks of 61 from Callum Guest and 47 from Matt Gouldstone looked to be standing in the way of Staffs making the necessary breakthrough. In all Staffs utilised nine different bowlers in their attempts to force the win with 17 year-old Jack Redman picking up two vital wickets for 19 in 8 decisive overs. Michael Hill struck twice before lunch with Anis Raza, Kadeer Ali and Tim Maxfield taking one each while Paul Byrne got through 33.4 overs to take 3-62 including that all important final wicket.
The win looked a long way away after an awful first day performance from Staffs with both bat and ball which saw them bowled out for 192 with Recordo Gordon claiming 6-48. The visitors edged ahead by the close of play for the loss of just two wickets. On the second morning the visitors looked in a strong position to build a substantial first innings lead but after losing their third wicket on 205, Michael Hill (4-52) and Brinder Phagura (5-63) ripped through the Cambridgeshire line-up to dismiss them 253, a lead of just 61.
An opening partnership of 225 between Sam Kelsall (110) and Kadeer Ali (142) set the stall for Staffs to build a convincing lead and with Michael Hill striking 78 and useful contributions from Andy Carr (35 not out) & Brinder Phagura 32 on the final morning, Staffs were able to declare on 443-7 setting Cambridgeshire a daunting victory target of 383, which they fell 99 runs short of in that oh so dramatic final few minutes.
Staffs 1st innings 192 & 443-7dec in their 2nd inns
Cambridgeshire 253 all out & 284 all out.
Next up for Staffs is a trip to Manor Park in Norwich to play Norfolk starting on Sunday 5th August.
Posted on Wednesday 25th July 2018, in Latest News