Captain Darren Batch plays anchor role as Sudbury win at Vauxhall Mallards
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Sudbury made it two wins out of two to be the joint early leaders of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, following a hard-fought victory by 20 runs at Vauxhall Mallards on Saturday.
The visitors coped best with a very poor batting surface, sticking to their guns to post a modest 139 all out from their full 50 overs.
Tom Huggins’ side then impressed with the ball, and in the field, to dismiss Mallards for 119 in 43.3 overs to successfully follow up their opening day home win over Burwell.
Club captain Darren Batch top-scored with a patient 42, off 132 deliveries, after Sudbury had lost both their openers, Huggins and Adam Mansfield, very cheaply.
Batch put on 48 runs with Ben Parker (26) for the third wicket, which turned out to be the biggest partnership of the match, with James Poulson adding an important 26 runs in the lower order.
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Mallards were well-placed at 40 for one, and later 82 for four, but they were never allowed to get into their stride because of some excellent Sudbury bowling.
Spinner Huggins, the first-team skipper, throttled the batsmen with miserly figures of 10-4-15-1, thanks to unwavering accuracy, while opening bowler Melton struck with vital wickets in his analysis of 10-3-25-3.
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“It was not a good pitch,” explained Batch, Sudbury’s club captain.
“It was quite soft and green, and it was difficult to score runs all day long, which we suspected.
“We lost the toss and we were put into bat. Looking at the pitch, we thought that 180 would be a good total to reach.
“If we got that, then we knew that we would be very competitive, and would be confident of defending it.
“And we were on course after about 40 overs, because we had wickets in hand and were planning a big last 10 overs.
“But it didn’t quite happen. We lost a couple of quick wickets, including mine in the 44th over, so we didn’t accumulate as many runs as we had hoped. That left us about 40 runs short of our target, although we still knew that we had a competitive score on the board, if we could just bowl and field well, and that’s just what happened,” added Batch.
Having provided the backbone of the innings, Batch was eventually the seventh wicket to fall with the score on 105.
Parker, at No. 4, faced 61 deliveries for his 26, while Poulson (26) and Melton (12) had some joy late on.
Paul Bradshaw was Mallards’ main wicket taker, with figures of 10-2-23-4, although Brett Stolworthy (10-1-21-0) and Mitchell Todd (10-1-23-2) were equally effective at stopping the flow of runs.
At least Sudbury used up all their allotted 50 overs, in their innings, but Todd (29) and Matthew Plater (19) gave the hosts a good platform, before Jonathan Gallagher had Plater caught by wicketkeeper Adam Mansfield to peg Mallards back to 40 for two. Gallagher also removed Todd.
The Norfolk side still looked the more likely winners, after wicketkeeper Harry Barker (33) and Luke Caswell (14) lifted the total to 82, with six wickets in hand.
But the excellent Huggins then removed Caswell, trapped leg before, and Melton later returned to the attack to claim three quickfire wickets to dismiss Barker, Alistair Shearer and Stolworthy.
Billy Moulton-Day clinched victory by trapping No. 11 Adam Todd leg before, to leave Mallards 119 all out, with 6.3 overs still to bowl.
“Tom (Huggins) bowled an excellent spell to really keep the pressure on their batsmen,” continued Batch.
“He bowled his 10 overs right through, and kept their middle order under wraps after we had taken some early wickets.
“Dustin (Melton) then came back towards the end to knock over a few wickets.
“In the end, it was another brilliant win. That’s now two wins out of two for us, the perfect start,” added Batch.
Sudbury return to Friars Street this Saturday to entertain Norwich in another 50-overs-a-side clash.
Norwich were beaten at Frinton by three wickets on the first weekend of the season, but defeated visiting Mildenhall by 12 runs in a low-scoring match on Saturday.
Like Sudbury, the trio of Swardeston (champions), Cambridge Granta and Great Witchingham have all won their first two matches.
By contrast, the quartet of Copdock & Old Ipswichian, Burwell, Bury St Edmunds and Vauxhall Mallards have lost both their opening fixtures.