Dramatic last wicket stand sees Sudbury to a sensational victory at Burwell
A unbeaten last wicket stand of 78, between Dustin Melton and Jonathan Gallagher, secured a remarkable victory for leaders Sudbury, in their Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League clash at Burwell on Saturday.
Chasing only a modest target of 186, Sudbury looked down-and-out when slumping to 108 for nine, still 78 short of victory with No. 10 batsman Melton and No. 11 Gallagher at the wicket.
But Melton went on the attack in dramatic fashion, ably supported by fellow fast bowler Gallager, to engineer the most unlikely of comebacks.
Melton plundered 69 not out off just 35 deliveries, including six sixes and five fours, while Gallagher faced 50 balls for his watchful nine not out, to see Sudbury home in the 59th over.
Club captain Darren Batch, who had earlier taken the first three wickets to fall in Burwell’s innings, before contributing 41 early on in Sudbury’s reply, summed up the achievement of his last two batsmen.
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“It was a remarkable win. No one gave us any hope when we were 108 for nine, and that included myself!” admitted Batch.
“No one in the ground thought that it was possible, except perhaps Dustin (Melton). He went on the attack – that’s the way he plays – he loves to attack.
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“But his shot-selection was also excellent. He did not try to hit every ball, he played the situation well.
“He waited for the balls in his area, before attacking, and his striking was as clean as you would see anywhere.
“He hit six sixes, most of them straight down the ground, off the spinners. He hit their left-arm seamer, Sam Rippington, for one six and a couple of fours, but he scored most of his runs off the spinners, Jay Ghelani and Joshua Vowden.
“At the other end, Jonny Gallagher played well and was fully aware of the part he needed to play. He supported Dustin, holding up his end while giving Dustin the strike whenever he could.
“There were no nerves to start with, as strange as it seems, but the closer we got to the target, the more nervous people became.
“However, it was all over very quickly, and it was Dustin who scored the winning runs.
“We got down to four to win, and he pulled a short ball for four behind square to complete the victory,” added Batch.
Earlier, Burwell had won the toss and opted to bat first, a decision that seemed to be vindicated with a good start.
Although Batch claimed the first three wickets to fall, those of openers Thomas Jagot (16) and Simon Donald (18), plus Andrew Bramley (6), the hosts were still in a good position at 140 for three at lunch.
But from a dominant 152 for three, Burwell then lost their last seven wickets for the addition of just 33 runs, to be bowled out for 185 in 58.2 overs.
Spinner Tom Huggins, the first-team captain, was the main destroyer, finishing with fine figures of 12.2-2-34-6.
A key moment was his dismissal of danger-man Joseph Tetley, who was the fifth wicket to fall. Tetley was trapped leg before by Huggins, having compiled 79 off 76 balls, featuring 13 boundaries.
Batch took three for 14, off six overs, while Gallagher impressed with some tight, accurate bowling (16-3-29-1).
“We really got out of jail,” continued Batch.
“They were looking very good at lunch, so to then bowl them out for just 185, we felt that a lot of the hard work had been done.
“However, Josh Arskey (18-5-29-3) bowled extremely well, which meant that we had to take risks against the other bowlers.
“That got us into real trouble, but then all credit to Dustin. He just never knows when he is beaten.
“He has shown that quality a few times for us, both last year and this year. He is always such an upbeat cricketer,” added Batch.
Rippington took four for 73, including the wicket of skipper Huggins for 21, and wickets continued to fall regularly at one end, despite club captain Batch’s stubborn resistance at the other end.
Batch made a patient 41 off 116 deliveries, but when he was the ninth wicket to fall, stumped by Paul Summerskill off spinner Ghelani, Sudbury were staring defeat full in the face.
But Burwell hadn’t bargained for a blitz from Melton, helped by some excellent support from Gallagher.
This was Sudbury’s 10th victory from 12 matches, with just two defeats, and a successful weekend was made even sweeter by news that defending champions Swardeston had suffered a surprise five-wicket loss at Horsford. As a result, Sudbury’s lead at the top of the table has been stretched to 31 points.