CUMBERLAND lost by four wickets to Staffordshire in the three-day minor counties game at Netherfield Cricket Club.

The hosts ultimately paid the price for a poor first innings batting display, but the bigger talking point came on day one when the game was suspended due to a dangerous wicket after a series of deliveries caused safety issues for the Cumberland batsmen. After lengthy discussions the game was restarted on a used wicket where Staffordshire’s Paul Byrne ripped through the first innings with an impressive return of 6-59 as Cumberland were all out for 206 off 60.4 overs.

In reply, Peter Wiltshire’s knock of 111 saw the visitors declare on 333-6 off 75 overs.

Cumberland made a steady start to the second innings as Ross Zelem and Matt Sempill posted a first wicket stand of 82. Staffordshire gained full control after Cumberland collapsed in the evening session with the hosts closing on 120-4. Staffordshire’s Robert Yates did the damage picking up figures of 3-46.

Cumberland made an imposing start to the third day when Gary Pratt and Ross Zelem accelerated the score onto 111. Staffordshire though battled back and Cumberland were all out for 285. Paul Byrne returned figures of 5-95, while Cumberland held a slender 158 run lead. Staffordshire knocked the runs off after tea on day three as the visitors closed on 159-5 off 43.5 overs.