Herts hold on against Suffolk to finish campaign with a draw

PUBLISHED: 18:22 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:41 26 October 2009

David Ward in action for Herts

David Ward in action for Herts

Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division Suffolk 364-2 Herts 174 & 373-7 HERTS finished a disappointing season on a positive note against Suffolk. Andy Lewis men produced a sterling rearguard action in the second innings to secure a battling draw ag

Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division

Suffolk 364-2 Herts 174 & 373-7

HERTS finished a disappointing season on a positive note against Suffolk.

Andy Lewis' men produced a sterling rearguard action in the second innings to secure a battling draw against an organised Suffolk side looking for a win to push for the Minor Counties Eastern Division title.

Herts stood tall and batted throughout the whole of day three to give themselves plenty of encouragement for next season.

The start of the game was met with what can only be described as serious rain - the roads were flooded in part as rain fell solidly from 6am.

Surprisingly though, Bury St Edmunds CC's ground swallowed all that the skies offered and a start time of noon was set.

The visitors won the toss on what looked like a good wicket, albeit it had been sweating under the covers for a good 12 hours, and decided to bowl.

An early breakthrough from WGC's Aaron Laraman raised Herts' hopes.

But that changed all too quickly as dropped catches and poor fielding started to give Suffolk the upper hand.

Suffolk finished their 90 overs with 364-2 on the board, with ex-Derbyshire batsmen Ben France scoring 91 and Hassan Adnan 105 not out.

Herts' batsmen struggled from the off against some aggressive short-pitched bowling from the former Essex pair of Andrew McGarry and Justin Bishop.

The only innings of any note came from North Mymms' Rhys Wynne, who scored a gritty 46 on his debut.

Laraman also made 30 and North Mymms batsman Lewis 25.

Herts were bowled out for 174, and were immediately asked to follow on after tea.

Again Suffolk came out hard and Herts ended day two on 80-4, with hopes resting on WGC wicketkeeper-batsman Dan Blacktopp, another debutant, on 55 not out, and his club colleague Nick Lamb.

Blacktopp and Lamb showed how to take time out of the game on a sunny day three.

With some hard work and good judgement, they saw Herts through to lunch with no further wickets down.

Blacktopp was 99 not out at lunch but Lamb fell soon after the break for 25.

Lewis joined Blacktopp, who went on to reach his maiden ton before falling for 109 trying to hit the ball out the ground.

Laraman came and went quickly and so in came David Ward to complete his final innings for the county after an illustrious 12-year career.

The 45-year-old former Surrey star, who had earlier announced his retirement, had suffered a chipped bone and damaged ligaments in his ankle, but was determined to bat one last time.

He and Lewis then took the game and the chance of victory away from Suffolk with some fine striking of the ball.

Both reached 50 and started to build a lead, much to the frustration of the whole Suffolk side.

Lewis finally fell lbw for 87 looking to work the spinner for a single.

Ward was dismissed for 75 after showing all the required passion, pride and determination asked of the players and left to a huge round of applause.

Mymms bowler Andrew Hicks and WGC all-rounder Simon White continued the hard work and with good concentration saw the county through to 6pm when the game was concluded as a draw.

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