Ben France century gives Clacton victory over Copdock & Old Ipswichian

Ben France

Ben France

A century from Ben France helped impressive Clacton to a five-wicket win at Copdock & Old Ipswichian, in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier Division on Saturday.

Copdock posted 275 for eight off their 66 overs, which represented a fantastic recovery from the precarious position of losing their top five batsmen for just 83, and then struggling on 189 for eight.

But it was to prove inadequate, as Clacton powered to their fourth win of the season – the Essex club are up to fourth in the table, with just four defeats in 11 matches.

A partnership of 58 between Adrian Nel (56) and Chris Swallow (41), for the sixth wicket, put Copdock back in the game, before superb half-centuries by James East and Peter George elevated the total to beyond the home club’s wildest dreams.

East was unbeaten on 54, while George plundered three sixes and four fours in his entertaining 50 not out.

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Clacton stuck to their guns, on a good batting wicket, with the top four all playing key roles in securing victory.

Openers Greg Smith (50) and Thiranko Rajarate (32) laid the foundations, before France scored at more than a run-a-ball for his 102, sharing a century stand with Jason Hughes (36). Wicketkeeper Chris Warne guided the visitors home with an unbeaten 30.

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In the all-Suffolk bottom-of-the-table derby, at the Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds and Woolpit are left still searching for their first league win of the season following Saturday’s draw.

Bury certainly enjoyed the better of a tight match, indebted to an unbeaten century from Justin Bishop in their total of 195 for three off 66 overs – Woolpit had won the toss and opted to field.

A watchful Bishop carried his bat throughout the innings, facing 205 deliveries for his 112 not out, which included 11 boundaries.

It was a fine effort from Bishop, who had seen his fellow opener and captain Tom Huggins bowled by Julian Crudeli for a duck with the score on just three.

However, Suffolk captain Bishop received good support from Shahzaib Hasan, Ben Wright and Phillip Gooden, who all made 20s.

Bury soon made inroads into Woolpit’s reply, with Shahzaib Hasan dismissing both openers, Will Parker and Dudley Spiers, early on, but the hosts could not close out the game, just when that elusive first victory looked on the cards.

In the end, stubborn resistance from Ben Shepperson, captain Michael Jones and Craig Eastlea gave the Woolpit innings some substance in the middle order.

Huggins made up for his failure with the bat, by taking two for 42 and also celebrating four catches in the slips.

This left Woolpit tottering on 130 for seven, but that was the extent of Bury’s joy as youngsters James Deeley and Alistair Stewart faced 121 balls between them in an unbroken eighth wicket partnership to frustrate their hosts.

Woolpit eventually finished on 156 for seven, 40 runs short of their target, but happy with the draw to stay clear of bottom spot.

Elsewhere, Sudbury suffered a 116-run defeat at the hands of Burwell.

Third-placed Burwell amassed a daunting 298 in swift time, thanks to an entertaining 137 from opener Peter Richer, who smashed 24 boundaries in a 167-ball stay at the crease.

Richer dominated a third wicket partnership of 168 with captain Paul Summerskill (65). He eventually became one of Ben Hyett’s five victims.

Sudbury lost wickets at regular intervals as they succumbed to 182 all out inside 53 overs. Adam Mansfield top-scored with an unbeaten 49, while fellow Suffolk county player James Poulson made 38.

Sudbury’s 10 wickets were shared between Kiran Adhav (six for 36) and Alistair Allchin (four for 75).

Meanwhile, leaders Swardeston won again. An unbeaten partnership of 90 between Callum Taylor and Jeremy Elliott saw them home by six wickets against Vauxhall Mallards.

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