Reece is the star of the show as Sudbury clinch one-wicket win
- Credit: Archant
Defending champions SUDBURY had a fine day in the East Anglian Premier League on Saturday, both in terms of their own match and also the misfortune of others.
League winners in 2017 and 2018, Sudbury had begun this season on the back foot with a couple of defeats and also a no-result in their first seven fixtures.
But they might look back on this most recent weekend as a big turning point, because they held their nerve to beat Horsford by one wicket in a tense affair at Friars Street.
And that was the only positive result to come from the six matches in the EAPL.
BURY ST EDMUNDS' match at Burwell & Exning was a complete wash-out, with both sides therefore taking seven points, and that was also the case with MILDENHALL'S visit to Vauxhall Mallards, and also COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN'S abandoned fixture at Saffron Walden.
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In fact, the only other competitive cricket in the EAPL came in the top-two showdown between second-placed Frinton-on-Sea and leaders Swardeston, which ended in a draw.
Over at Sudbury, the hosts won an important toss and chose to field in a rain-affected contest, where an early lunch was taken.
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Horsford were skittled out for 126 in 38.5 overs, despite a reasonable start seeing them to 42 for one through the efforts of openers William Woodhead (18) and Luke Findlay (10), plus 20 from Will Rogers at No. 3.
But Horsford then lost their last nine wickets for the addition of just 84 runs, the wickets shared by Henry Shipley (11-2-29-4), Patrick Sadler (6.5-1-24-3) and Tom Huggins (11-2-33-3).
Sudbury were soon staring down the barrel in their reply, losing both Keelan Waldock and Darren Batch to leave the total on 1 for 2.
The experienced Huggins did make a patient 28 off 56 balls at the top of the innings, with one six and four fours, before he was caught and bowled by Ryan Findlay, but Sudbury continued to lose wickets at an alarming rate.
At 84 for seven, they were still 43 runs short of their target, but in Ben Reece they found a natural match-winner.
The hard-hitting Reece put on 25 for the eighth wicket with James Poulson (10), and although neither No. 10 Sadler or No. 11 Jonathan Gallagher managed to score, Reece saw Sudbury home with a swashbuckling 38 not out off just 31 balls.
Reece struck a six and four boundaries as the Suffolk side celebrated their fifth win of the season, with just two balls to spare.
Leaders Swardeston enjoyed the better of their drawn match at FRINTON-ON-SEA, thanks to Joe Gatting's excellent century in a total of 225 for seven off their reduced 50 overs.
But it didn't look like the Norfolk side would get anywhere near the 200-mark, when Frinton captain Michael Comber took four quickfire wickets to leave the visitors on 26 for four.
Comber trapped both openers, Jordan Taylor (second ball of the match) and Lewis Denmark, leg before and had Stephan Gray and Callum Taylor caught by wicketkeeper Tom Sinclair.
But Gatting and Peter Lambert rescued the situation by putting on 177 for the fifth wicket. Lambert contributed 51 off 72 balls, while Gatting went on to hit 115 not out (132 balls) with four mighty sixes.
Frinton never looked like threatening Swardeston's target as wickets tumbled despite 34 from opener Michael Griggs.
Gatting proved as effective with the ball as with the bat, taking three for 33 off 14 overs. Mark Thomas also claimed three wickets, and at 69 for six Frinton were in serious danger of suffering their first league defeat of the summer.
Comber stopped the rot with 20 at No.7, and although a defeat was still likely following his exit with the score on 97 for seven, stubborn resistance was provided by Ashley Watson and James Baker.
Watson made a watchful 11 not out off 78 balls, while Baker's six not out came off 42 deliveries.
Meanwhile, in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, the top-versus-bottom clash in Division One had the expected outcome with leaders Wivenhoe thrashing basement dwellers Ipswich by 10 wickets. It was Wivenhoe's sixth win from eight matches, while Ipswich are still searching for their first victory of the campaign.
Ipswich were bowled out for 74 in 34.2 overs, with no batsman advancing past 20.
The biggest stand of the innings was the 24 shared by openers Joe Rusby (7) and Damian Smith (16), before Rusby was run out by Jordan Nicholls.
Joseph Nicholls then took control with the ball, running through Ipswich's top and middle order on his way to figures of 10-2-28-5. Chris Bell top-scored with 19.
Wivenhoe knocked off the runs off just 15 overs, Matt Durrell (51 not out) and James Handscombe (21no) easing to 75 for no wicket.
Hadleigh remain in second spot, 19 points behind Wivenhoe, after their 41-run win over Woolpit in a Suffolk derby reduced to 40 overs per side.
Club stalwarts Josh Davey (52) and Thomas Piddington (48) were the main contributors to Hadleigh's total of 189 for six.
Will Parker and Andy Northcote gave Woolpit a solid start with an opening partnership of 48, before skipper Parker (24) became the first of Kudzai Maunze's five victims.
Northgate hung around for a well-compiled 76, but he could not find any strong support from his team-mates and was eventually the ninth wicket to fall, trapped LBW by Maunze.
Woolpit were dismissed for 148 with two balls of their innings left, Maunze taking five for 25 off 9.5 overs.
Third-placed Witham hammered Haverhill by 10 wickets, dismissing the visitors for just 75 with three wickets for Shaun Bragg (10-2-17-3) and Greg Stephens (9-4-12-3). Jake Waklin took two for 22 off his 20 overs.
Chris Huntington (50no) and Michael Godwin (20no) breezed home inside 17 overs.