Maiolo hits century in Mildenhall’s exciting draw at Swardeston

Matt Allen, who scored 27 and then took three late wickets in Mildenhall's exciting draw at Swardest

Matt Allen, who scored 27 and then took three late wickets in Mildenhall's exciting draw at Swardeston. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Inspired by a terrific innings from Nick Maiolo, Mildenhall bounced back from the disappointment of successive defeats with a strong display at former champions Swardeston in the EAPL on Saturday.

Australian all-rounder Maiolo hit 131 in Mildenhall’s challenging total of 361, and then took three wickets as Swardeston finished on 309 for nine in a match that was in the balance for long periods.

The Wamil Way club, after topping the East Anglian Premier League table only three weeks earlier, had suffered back-to-back heavy defeats at the hands of Great Witchingham and Vauxhall Mallards, before this spirited display at opponents who had won the title five times in a row between 2012 and 2016.

After the early loss of Joe Reed (9), opener Jon Allen (49) and Maiolo put on 166 for the second wicket to provide the backbone of Mildenall’s innings, after being put into bat by their Norfolk hosts.

Maiolo went on to hit three sixes and 20 fours in his 128-ball innings of 131. There were also useful contributions from skipper Tom Rash (25), Adam Trett (39) and Matt Allen (27).

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Swardeston had high hopes of reaching their target, boosted by 96 from Stephen Gray at No. 3, and also half-centuries from skipper Joe Gatting (53) and Freddie Ruffell (59).

But Maiolo pegged them back with three wickets (15-0-86-3), and then Matt Allen intervened with three late wickets to ensure Swardeston would have to just hold out for a draw, 53 runs short of their goal with one wicket left.

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“The scorecard makes it look closer to a win that it really was, because we took a wicket off the last ball,” explained Mildenhall captain Rash.

“But we had our chances to win. It was good going for us to get up to 361, thanks to Nick (Maiolo).

“He’s a real seasoned cricketer, and he has a massive future ahead of him when he goes back to Australia. He hasn’t got the runs he would have liked so far this summer, because he has got out to some very good balls, but he is a destructive cricketer when he gets going.

“We had two difficult chances to get Stephen Gray out, and he made us pay by scoring 90-odd runs. We took wickets at a steady rate throughout, and in the end they shut up shop for the draw during the final few overs,” added Rash.

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