Bury St Edmunds involved in a thrilling last-ball draw at champions Swardeston

Daron Cruickshank, who scored a superb 141 for Bury St Edmunds in their exciting draw at Vauxhall Ma

Daron Cruickshank, who scored a superb 141 for Bury St Edmunds in their exciting draw at Vauxhall Mallards in the EAPL on Saturday. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Bury St Edmunds finally stopped the rot, in dramatic fashion, by holding champions Swardeston to an equal score draw in a Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League thriller at The Common on Saturday.

Basement dwellers Bury had lost their first six matches of the season, but they bounced back from the previous weekend’s heavy defeat at pace-setters Sudbury, by 181 runs, to earn a morale-boosting draw and an important haul of 13 points.

In fact, at one stage it looked as though Bury, who had posted a testing total of 255 for eight off 64 overs, would notch their first win of the summer when reducing Swardeston to 167 for seven.

But a superb century from Stephen Gray seemed to have steered Swardeston back on course for what would have been a fifth win of the summer, until he was dismissed in the penultimate over.

Swardeston still only needed three runs off the last over to win, with a couple of wickets in hand, but they could only manage a couple of singles, including one off the last ball of the match from Matt Taylor, to end on the same total of 255 for eight.

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“It was a very exciting end to a great match,” enthused Bury captain Sean Park, who took on the responsibility of bowling the last over of the day.

“I was pleased with the way we managed to get to 255, when for a long time it looked as though we would struggle to make 200.

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“A lot of the younger lads chipped in, including a first half-century in the League for 16-year-old Alex Oxley.

“We had them at 67 for four, and when we got them to 167 for seven, I felt that one more wicket at that stage and we would have gone on to win the game. But Stephen Gray always seems to get runs against Bury,” added Park.

Oxley made 50 at the top of the order, sharing a 60-run stand for the second wicket with fellow youngster Alfie Marston (32).

West Indian all-rounder Daron Cruickshank top-scored with 54 off 71 balls at No 4, while an unbeaten 33 from Mark Nunn boosted the final total to 255.

When skipper Park took two wickets in two balls, to remove Freddie Ruffell and Jeremy Elliott, Swardeston were staring down the barrel at 167 for seven.

But Gray (103) put on 86 for the eighth wicket with Taylor (29no), until Gray was caught in the deep by Park off Cruickshank in the penultimate over.

Park’s tight last over culminated in a thrilling draw.

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