Herts draw in championship
The Herts versus Suffolk Minor Counties Championship match was a mini classic. A truly thrilling match, which had nearly everything except a positive result, ended with Herts 12 agonising runs short of victory against Suffolk at Long Marston after a magni
The Herts versus Suffolk Minor Counties Championship match was a mini classic.
A truly thrilling match, which had nearly everything except a positive result, ended with Herts 12 agonising runs short of victory against Suffolk at Long Marston after a magnificent chase of a target of 276 in 50 overs.
The centrepiece of a marvellous climax to three compelling days of championship cricket, which featured 13 wickets for former England leg-spinner Chris Schofield, was a thunderous century from Hertford opening batsman Steve Cordingley.
He hit three sixes and 14 fours in his 124-ball hundred but it was the style with which he controlled the chase against a high-quality attack which was so exceptional.
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Cordingley and former Surrey batsman David Ward had Herts well in touch with the stiff target set by Suffolk's captain, the St Albans player Phil Caley.
The run-rate was at seven an over for the last 11 overs with eight wickets in hand when one act of freakish brilliance, a one-handed full-stretch catch on the deep square-leg boundary, dismissed Cordingley and probably cost Herts the win.
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Ward soon followed to an almost equally brilliant slip catch off Schofield for a 43-ball half-century and valiantly though Herts tried, a field of nine men on the boundary made the task just beyond them.
They kept chancing their arm until they were eight wickets down with three balls left and 14 runs needed.
It had been a long journey from Sunday's first session, when Suffolk won the toss and chose to bat first on an excellent pitch.
Herts got two early breakthroughs but then were frustrated by century partnerships for the fourth and fifth wickets.
Phil Carlson, the young Hertford leg-spinner, bowled well in the evening session to end with 4-95 as Suffolk closed their 90 overs on 366-8.
Herts reached 54 for the loss of Cordingley at the end of day one.
Chris Stead and his North Mymms club colleague and county skipper Andy Lewis then batted really well to take the score to 120 before Lewis fell for a fine 54.
This was the first of what would turn out to be eight victims for the mesmerising Schofield, who put in a magical and marathon spell of 32 unchanged overs.
Herts closed on 294-9, conceding a lead of 72, thanks entirely to Schofield, who had the remarkable figures of 36 overs, 11 maidens, eight wickets for 112.
Monday afternoon's rain prevented Suffolk beginning their innings, taking 34 overs out of the equation and leaving a minimum of 102 overs on the final day.
Herts bowled and fielded excellently on the third morning.
Tony Skeggs, the Knebworth Park all-rounder, took 3-47 as Suffolk declared on 202-9, leaving Herts a minimum of 43 overs (which turned out to be 50) to chase 276 and banking on Schofield to bowl them out.
Herts, led by Cordingley and Ward, rose to the occasion, Schofield taking wickets with catches on the boundary and time just ran out.