Crucial wins enhance duo’s survival chances

WHILE Halstead and Sudbury both gained significant wins to improve their chances of avoiding relegation from the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League on Saturday, Clacton dropped back into danger when they lost by three wickets to Bury St Edmunds.

Halstead dismissed hosts Burwell for 139 and rattled up a six-wicket win in good time. Matt Spatcher (four for 32), Tom Philp (three for 30), Syed Rasel (two for 48 in 17 overs) and Ed Clark (one for 18) stayed on top of the Burwell batsmen throughout.

Solid contributions from openers Freddie Blackwell (15) and Spatcher (25) were followed by an unbeaten half-century from Matthew Surry as Halstead made sure of an invaluable success.

The win saw Halstead move up two places, leapfrogging Burwell and also passing Clacton.

Sudbury scored their third win of the season, and arguably their best so far. Kandage Fernando top-scored with 65 out of a total of 170, then visitors Cambridge Granta – the defending champions – were put out for just 98, with Ben Reece in terrific form to snatch six for 25.

Ben Hyett finished things off by snapping up the last two wickets for four runs.

Clacton came up against Phil Edwards, who grabbed the first four wickets at a personal cost of just 24. Tom Rash kept up the good work with three for 13 and there was one wicket each for Mark Nunn, Simon Rees and Tom Huggins.

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Clacton never recovered from their early losses, with Ibrar Mir top-scoring with 25 and Garth Davson the next-highest scorer with 15.

Stefanus Gericke kept Bury honest with four for 34 in 18 overs, but the home side knew they just had to avoid being bowled out to be certain of winning. Rash, not living up to his name, was in cautious mood as he scored 31 from 83 deliveries, after Huggins had scored 29.

Edwards completed a good all-round performance with 23 and James McKinney (11 not out) and wicket-keeper James Sturgeon (one not out), were together when victory came with three wickets in hand.

There was a change at the top of the table as Great Witchingham lost for the first time to Swardeston. That meant that Horsford took over at the pinnacle after beating bottom team Norwich.

Clacton must now look over their shoulders at bottom team Norwich, while also hoping that Burwell’s bad run will keep them in the picture. Halstead now have a little breathing space.