Sudbury hold on for a draw after exciting clash with Frinton
Pace-setters Sudbury held on for a draw in an exciting end to their East Anglian Premier League clash with Frinton, so remaining a healthy 40 points clear of second-placed Swardeston.
In a match reduced to 86 overs (46 for the side batting first, 40 for the side batting second), due to a delayed start following some early morning rain, hosts Frinton made 226 for seven after being put into bat by skipper Tom Huggins.
Former Essex stalwart Jaik Mickleburgh was the main run-scorer, striking a rapid 77 off 83 balls as he put on 92 with Tom Sinclair (60) for the third wicket.
Sudbury fielded a weakened bowling attack, due to Dustin Melton’s inability to bowl (shoulder injury) and Jonny Gallagher’s unavailability, so club captain Darren Batch stepped up to the plate to open the bowling.
And Batch returned fine figures of 12-0-47-4, putting the brakes on Frinton’s innings, which fizzled out following Mickleburgh’s dismissal on 154 for three.
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It was neck-and-neck for the remainder of the match, Sudbury losing Huggins (12) early on, and then the experienced Batch was forced to retire hurt just before tea, due to a hand injury.
Adam Mansfield (41) and Martyn Cull (57) added 81 to take the score beyond 100, but the defending champions then lost a flurry of wickets with ex-Essex pace-man Merv Westfield taking four for 43 to steer Frinton close to victory – all three results had been possible right up until the finish.
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In the end, Kenny Moulton-Day’s unbeaten 43 was not quite enough for Sudbury to sneak home, and they finished on 207 for eight, 20 runs short of victory.
Club captain Batch explained: “In the end we were happy with the draw. It keeps us well-placed, and it pegs back Frinton.
“We had a few overs to fill, with Dustin (Melton) and Jonny (Gallagher) missing from the attack, and Tom (Huggins) asked me whether I would like to open the bowling.
“But it was Ben Reece who got the important wicket of Jaik (Mickleburgh), because he was just starting to accelerate.
“I got hit on the hand by Merv (Westfield) so retired hurt, but the run-rate was always around six or seven per over until we lost a number of late wickets.
“We had needed 21 off the last two overs, with three wickets left, but Dustin got out and so I went back out there to block.”