Opening day wins for Copdock, Bury, Sudbury and Frinton
- Credit: Archant
Copdock & Old Ipswichian, champions Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds and Frinton all enjoyed winning starts to the new East Anglian Premier League campaign on Saturday.
The most eye-catching result was at former regular champions Swardeston, where COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN celebrated a 51-run win over their Norfolk hosts.
Swardeston won the title for five years in a row, between 2012 and 2016, and have been runners-up to Sudbury in the last couple of seasons, but they played second fiddle to Copdock & OI.
Put into bat by home skipper Joe Gatting, Copdock posted a challenging total of 257 for seven off their 50 overs, helped by a half-century from opener Ben Claydon, who scored a rapid 62 off 76 balls, including 20 boundaries, and useful middle-order knocks by Jed Cawkwell (48) and wicketkeeper Jacob Marston (47).
Summer signing Matt Hunn, the club’s new cricket development officer, then caused serious damage to the Swardeston top order.
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Fast bowler Hunn, who was released by Kent CCC last summer after six years in the professional game, removed both openers Jordan Taylor (1) and Callum Taylor (1), and then had captain and danger-man Gatting (13) caught behind by Marston to leave the home side on 31 for three.
They never really recovered from that disastrous start, despite Stephen Gray, batting at No. 3, staying at the crease for the remainder of the innings.
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Gray was eventually run out for 85, the last wicket to fall as Swardeston were bowled out for 206 in 45.2 overs.
In addition to Hunn (9.2-1-39-3), there was some fine bowling from spinners Chris Swallow and Jack Beaumont, who both recorded identical figures of 8-1-34-2.
Elsewhere, champions SUDBURY thrashed Cambridge Granta by 10 wickets at Friars Street to get their title defence off to the best possible start.
Cambridge were restricted to 172 for seven off their 50 overs, with only opener Kieren Mackenzie (57) and Jonathan Atkinson (44) offering any real resistance with a 69-run stand for the third wicket.
James Poulson claimed two early wickets, trapping Douglas Rice (4) leg before and bowling Michael Turner (3), on his way to figures of 9-1-23-3. Summer signing Henry Shipley’s 10 overs cost just 24 runs, with one wicket.
Tom Huggins and Adam Mansfield then made short work of reaching their target, Huggins racing to 104 not out off 88 balls, including five sixes, while new captain Mansfield was unbeaten on 65.
The duo wrapped up victory inside 29 overs, on 176 without loss.
BURY ST EDMUNDS only avoided the threat of relegation by winning seven of their last eight fixtures last season, but they began their 2019 campaign in better shape with an excellent seven-wicket win at Horsford.
The home side elected to bat first, but lost half their wickets with just 80 on the scoreboard before recovering to 199 for nine off 50 overs.
There were two wickets apiece for opening bowler Alastair Allchin (9-0-36-2), veteran Sean Cooper (10-2-16-2) and young South African Justin Broad (8-3-28-2), who was making his Bury debut.
The visitors were struggling a little on 41 for three in their reply, but an unbroken stand of 159 for the fourth wicket between two of their other summer recruits, Ben Seabrook and Daniel Moriarty, saw Bury to victory with 4.3 overs to spare.
A dominant Seabrook, signed from Burwell & Exning, finished on 104 not out, off 118 balls, while South African Moriarty was unbeaten on 65 from 108 balls.
FRINTON-ON-SEA also began with a win in a low-scoring encounter at home to Great Witchingham, by 18 runs.
New captain Michael Comber must have been concerned when his side limped along to 104 for eight, before late order batsmen Ollie Bocking (top score with 21 not out) and Dulanjala Mendis (13) added a vital 39 runs for the ninth wicket.
Bocking was signed from Colchester & East Essex, while Sri Lankan Mendis, a left-arm spinner, is the club’s overseas player.
Frinton were dismissed for 143 in 34 overs, but that proved enough as Great Witchingham were skittled out for just 125 in 42.2 overs.
All five bowlers used were among the wickets, spearheaded by summer recruit Bocking’s excellent figures of 10-3-33-3. Skipper Comber took two for 15 off 8.2 overs.
MILDENHALL were not so fortunate, losing by just 12 runs in a high-scoring duel away at newly-promoted Saffron Walden.
Regis Chakabva struck 145 at No. 3 to propel Saffron Walden to 275 for seven off 50 overs. Eight bowlers were used, captain Tom Rash at least leading from the front with three for 42 off his overs.
All of Mildenhall’s top six batsmen got themselves in, boosted by a quickfire 60 from opener Joe Reed, off 49 balls, but Rash (54) was the only other batsman to get past 40 as the visitors finished on 263 for nine.
This Saturday’s second round of matches sees Sudbury travel to Great Witchingham, while Frinton are also on the road at Vauxhall Mallards.
Bury St Edmunds play host to Swardeston, who will be hurting after their defeat to Copdock. Also enjoying home advantage this Saturday are Mildenhall, against Horsford, and Copdock, who entertain Burwell & Exning.
Burwell will be fresh from rattling up a massive 431 for six in their 92-run over Mallards.