Frinton’s Joe Fowler and Alex Price share record opening partnership
- Credit: Archant
Elmstead took a big step towards winning the Division One title in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, by winning at Haverhill while nearest challengers Wivenhoe suffered a defeat at Woolpit.
Beginning the day just seven points clear of Wivenhoe, high-flying Elmstead stretched that advantage to 18 points with a hard-fought win at second-from-bottom Haverhill by 56 runs.
Saturday also featured a remarkable record opening stand, in Frinton 2nds’ home match against Mistley, where the opening pair of Joe Fowler and Alex Price put on 312 for the first wicket for the victorious Frinton side.
Back to the top of the table, and Elmstead made 202 for nine off their allotted 50 overs, thanks chiefly to another terrific knock from Ryan Vickery. The wicketkeeper made 83 at No. 4, before becoming one of Josh Ruthven’s four late victims.
Haverhill skipper, Adam Dellar, made 35 at the top of the innings, but Haverhill were always up against it in their reply.
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Ashan Athurkoralage, fresh from his useful 36 in the lower middle-order, took four of 18 to run through the Haverhill tail and so wrap up a 13th victory from 17 starts for dominant Elmstead.
Second-placed Wivenhoe fell short against third-placed Woolpit at Rectory Road.
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Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Woolpit were dismissed in the final over for 207, bolstered by an excellent 81 from opener Jack Rowett, who struck a six and six fours in his patient knock, which lasted 150 balls.
There were three wickets apiece for James Butcher and skipper Harry Burnett, but Wivenhoe faltered in their reply, despite 47 off 56 balls from opener Matt Durrell.
No other visiting batsmen could even reach 30 as Woolpit, inspired not for the first time by all-rounder Nathan Crudeli, who claimed figures of 8.1-1-26-4, secured a victory by 22 runs.
Wivenhoe had looked in reasonable shape at 154 for five, but they lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 31 runs and were bowled out with 17 balls still remaining in their innings.
The record books were re-written at Frinton, where Price and Fowler shared a superb opening stand of 312. This was a record opening partnership for Division One of the Two Counties Championship, and in fact a record stand for any wicket in the top flight.
It eclipsed the 281 put on by Halstead against Braintree in 1995, and beat the biggest partnership for any wicket in Division One, which had previously been 286 for the second wicket by Halstead against Maldon in 1996.
The hard-hitting Fowler was the main run-scorer, hitting six sixes and 24 boundaries in his terrific 194. He was eventually dismissed in the last over.
Fellow opener Price was 100 not out, accumulated off 157 deliveries and featuring eight fours in what was a remarkable effort by both batsmen.
Chasing a target of 313 for victory, Mistley were not surprisingly well beaten, losing by 94 runs after finishing on 218 for eight.
Skipper Daniel Goff top-scored with 88 off 93 balls at the top of the innings, thumping three sixes and 10 fours, but there was precious little in the way of support from elsewhere
Also in Division One, Hadleigh claimed a four-wicket win at home to bottom club Braintree.
Braintree suffered a disastrous start, losing their top six batsmen with just 24 on the board, with Brock Price taking four of the first six wickets to fall.
Barry Stephens did contribute 38 at No. 7, but the visitors were bowled out for just 98 in the 39th over, Price finishing with 7-3-17-4.
Hadleigh reached their target off just 17.4 overs, with four wickets in hand, boosted by a 63-run stand for the second wicket between Thomas Piddington (52 off just 37 balls) and opener Price (16).
There was a tied match between Witham and Maldon.
The visitors were bowled out for 128, despite 42 from skipper Chris Harris, but Witham also struggled in their reply, finding runs difficult to come by.
They too were bowled out for 128, at the end of the penultimate over, when Matt Wild bowled No. 11 Shaun Bragg for a duck.
Opening bowler Wild ended with figures of 10-2-34-5.
At Worlington, visiting Halstead celebrated a victory by 21 runs after skipper Joshua Wells top-scored with 59 in a total of 207 for seven. Chris Rayner hit two sixes in his cameo of 47.
Worlington looked well on course for victory when brothers Graham Ford (88) and Richard Ford (49) shared a century opening stand. However, they then lost all 10 wickets for the addition of just 86 runs.