Daniel Goff stars with bat and ball as Mistley beat leaders Elmstead
The top two teams in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championships, Elmstead and Wivenhoe, both suffered surprise defeats on Saturday, allowing third-placed Woolpit to close the gap.
All six matches in the top flight ended with victories for the side batting second, suggesting that a run-chase at this time of the season, in good conditions, can be a big advantage.
Leaders Elmstead were soundly beaten at Mistley by eight wickets, ironically after winning the toss and opting to bat first, Daniel Goff doing the main damage.
Elmstead were bowled out for 186, with three of their 50 overs still remaining, Ryan Vickery top-scoring with 43 in the middle order. It required a useful 32 from Joshua Elliott, at No. 8, to give that total an air of respectability.
Mistley captain Goff was the main wicket-taker, with three for 34, although the most economical bowling came from Tim Scott (10-2-28-2), Phil Palmer (10-2-28-1) and Bruce Leeks (10-1-33-2).
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Goff then led by example in Mistley’s successful reply, plundering 128 off 103 balls to seal victory in just 34.1 overs.
The imperious Goff, who hit four sixes and 18 fours, was well supported by James Scott (58 not out) in a second wicket partnership worth 181.
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However, second-placed Wivenhoe failed to take the opportunity to make serious inroads into Elmstead’s lead at the top, by losing at Frinton 2nds by a seven-wicket margin.
Jermaine Shillingford did the early damage, taking the important wickets of danger-man Liam Hope-Shackley and opener Matt Durrell to leave Wivenhoe marooned on six for three.
After Durrell was caught by Dominic Stockdale off Shillingford for a duck, Australian all-rounder Hope-Shackley, who had smashed a glorious 122 off just 65 balls in the previous weekend’s win over Haverhill, was also a victim of Shillingford. He was caught by John Hambrook for a third-ball duck.
Opener Jordan Nicholls (4) was bowled by Anthony Stubbs, and Shillingford then claimed his third wicket by bowling James Butcher (15) to leave the score on 44 for four.
Jakob Kelly did bat well for 68, accrued patiently off 123 deliveries in the middle order, to guide Wivenhoe to a final total of 167 for nine off their 50 overs.
Any hopes of a fightback were ended by opener Dominic Stockdale racing to a dominant 66 off just 64 balls. He put on 56 for the second wicket with Hambrook (20), before skipper Sam Brynes hammered in the final nail with an unbeaten 50. Frinton reached their target inside 32 overs.
Elmstead therefore remain 20 points clear of Wivemhoe, in the race for the title, with just three matches remaining.
Third-placed Woolpit are now just 27 points off the pace, after their four-wicket win over visiting Halstead at Rectory Lane.
Halstead were bowled out for 182, despite an excellent 66 from opener Chris Huntington, but Woolpit did not have it all their own way in their reply.
Reduced to 44 for three, Nathan Crudeli (48) and Alex Jackson (82 not out) shared an 87-run stand for the fourth wicket to turn the tide in the Suffolk hosts’ favour. They eventually won with 13 overs left.
At the other end of the table, the clash of the bottom two, between Haverhill and Braintree, ended in a crushing win for second-from-bottom Haverhill.
The home side won the toss and elected to field, dismissing Braintree for a disappointing 111 off 38.3 overs. Harry Harding was the outstanding bowler, boasting excellent figures of 10-6-19-6. Harding took the first wicket, of opener Chris Leech (14), and later ripped through the middle order. Chris Palmer supported well with two for 12 off 8.3 overs. Warren Celiz top-scored with 43.
Openers Adam Dellar (23) and Anthony Phillips (54no) wrapped up victory with a show of aggression. Skipper Dellar raced to 23 out of an opening stand of 26, with a six and four fours, while Phillips then saw Haverhill home with a couple of sixes of his own.
Braintree are 49 points adrift at the bottom, while Haverhill are only three points behind third-from-bottom Frinton 2nds.
Elsewhere in Division One, fourth-placed Maldon won at Hadleigh by just three wickets.
Hadleigh posted a total of 202 for eight, although at one stage they were 115 for the loss of just one wicket. Brock Price struck 61, with four sixes, backed up by fellow opener Alex Milnes (36) and Thomas Piddington (33). Matthew Coppen took four for 18.
Maldon reached their target with six balls to spare, Jimmy Ainscough top-scoring with 44 in the middle order.
Worlington were bowled out for just 99 at Witham, Simon Jones taking five for 13, the home side winning by seven wickets.