Frinton take big step towards EAPL title but Sudbury stay in the race
- Credit: Archant
Frinton-on-Sea remain in pole position to win the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League title, for the first time in their history, following their successful top-two showdown with Swardeston on Saturday.
And it is now defending champions Sudbury who pose the biggest threat to Michael Comber's side, after their win at fourth-placed Horsford.
With just three fixtures of the summer remaining, long-time leaders Frinton have opened up gap of 21 points at the top, ahead of Sudbury, with Swardeston 26 points adrift of the Essex pace-setters.
Sudbury take on Swardeston at Friars Street this weekend, so that will determine where the big challenge to Frinton will come from during the final fortnight.
The new-ball pair of Comber and Ollie Bocking did the main damage as FRINTON bowled out Swardeston for just 131 in 45.2 overs at The Common, after the Norfolk hosts had won the toss and opted to bat. The fact that Swardeston managed to creep up to even that many was due to a last wicket stand of 46 between Richard Sims (32) and No. 11 Toby Duncan (13 not out).
Earlier, Swardeston had been reduced to 86 for nine, Comber dismissing four of the top six batsmen for figures of 10-2-26-4. These included the crucial wickets of openers Callum Taylor (14) and Jordan Taylor (5), plus opposing skipper Joe Gatting (14).
Fellow opening bowler Bocking returned figures of 10-1-42-3, including the scalps of wicketkeeper Stephen Gray and the experienced Peter Lambert.
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The spinners also bowled well. Overseas star Dulanjala Mendis bowled his 10 overs for just 24 overs, while Ashley Watson registered 9.2-2-17-2.
Frinton lost opener Michael Griggs to the third ball of their reply, but from a tricky 49 for three, the duo of Adam Wheater and Blaine Bannister put on a match-winning partnership of 54 for the fourth wicket.
Essex batsman-wicketkeeper Wheater stuck 41 off 50 balls, with two sixes and four boundaries, while Bannister hit five fours in his swift 31 off 38 deliveries.
Frinton reached their target off 30.1 overs (132 for six), so taking a giant step towards the title.
"To be fair to Swardeston, we would have also batted first if we had won the toss," revealed Frinton captain Comber.
"Basically, we just bowled out of our skin against their top order. In fact, I don't think we could have bowled any better with the new ball. We also held our catches.
"You don't expect that to happen against Swardeston, but we managed to blow them away, despite their last wicket partnership when Richard Sims got a few lucky decisions.
"Swardeston were still in contention when we were 49 for three, but I had decided to spread our batting out, by keeping me and Ash Watson back until lower in the order, just in case.
"This was a big win, and if we win our last three matches then we will win the league, though mathematically two wins from the last three should be enough," added Comber.
SUDBURY would have much preferred Swardeston to win the top-of-the-table clash.
They entertain Swardeston this weekend, which would have given them the chance to end the Norfolk club's challenge and put them in a strong position, if Frinton had lost on Saturday.
Saturday's hosts Horsford posted a total of 189 for nine off their 50 overs, an effort built around a fourth wicket stand of 97 between opener Luke Findlay (61) and Stephan Marillier (56).
James Poulson was the pick of Sudbury's bowlers, with three for 34 off 10 overs.
The visitors lost both their openers, Adam Mansfield and Keelan Waldock, with just 18 on the board, before Darren Batch (76) and Martyn Cull (25) steadied the ship with a partnership of 52.
Batch then found good support from Ben Parker (21) and Henry Shipley, before the pair of Kenny Moulton-Day and Ben Reece saw Sudbury to a winning 190 for six, with eight balls to spare.
Club captain Batch explained: "We were disappointed that Horsford got so many runs. We bowled well for periods, and were not so great in other periods.
"Our skipper Adam (Mansfield) was also disappointed with how we fielded, because we have set such high standards in the field in recent years, and we fell short of them on Saturday.
"There were a few dropped catches and we gave them more runs than we would have liked.
"Their total of 189 was a good one, on what was a difficult pitch. It was a dry pitch and is was hard to force the runs.
"I like batting with Martyn (Cull). We bat well together, and it was later a case of making sure that we got to the last 10 overs needing a run a ball, because we have the batsmen to get the runs.
"We now have to hope that Frinton slip up," added Batch.
Elsewhere, BURY ST EDMUNDS claimed an impressive 179-run win over Burwell & Exning at the Victory Ground.
Josh Cantrell struck a marvellous 114 not out, off 101 balls, putting on 151 for the fourth wicket with skipper Ben Seabrook (72) as Bury posted a big total of 133 for five.
The visitors were bowled out for 132, the new ball pair of Alastair Allchin (8-1-48-3) and Sean Cooper (10-2-30-2) accounting for the top order before Daniel Moriarty took the final five wickets (6-4-1-27-5).
MILDENHALL returned to winning ways with a six-wicket win over bottom club Vauxhall Mallards, who mustered 194 for nine off their 50 overs.
Harrison Clark-Burnham blasted 77 off 60 balls, with 14 fours and one six, as Mildenhall reached their target in the 33rd over. Clark-Burnham put on 99 for the second wicket with Tristan Blackledge (35).
COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN were beaten by Saffron Walden by 21 runs in a close contest.
Chasing 274 for victory, there were half-centuries for young opener Alex Oxley (51), skipper Chris Swallow (71) and Sam Webb-Snowling (53) as Copdock finished on 252 for six.