Gallagher and Poulson bowl Sudbury to superb win at Swardeston

James Poulson, who took five wickets in Sudbury's 36-run win at Swardeston. Picture: GREGG BROWN

James Poulson, who took five wickets in Sudbury's 36-run win at Swardeston. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Sudbury’s opening bowling attack of Jonny Gallagher and James Poulson shared nine wickets between them as the defending champions recorded a vital victory at chief rivals Swardeston on Saturday.

Club captain, Darren Batch, who top-scored with 50 in Sudbury's win at Swardeston in the EAPL on Sat

Club captain, Darren Batch, who top-scored with 50 in Sudbury's win at Swardeston in the EAPL on Saturday. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Despite the absence of skipper Tom Huggins and Suffolk county captain Adam Mansfield, both due to unavailability, Sudbury still powered to a 36-run win at The Common to leapfrog their hosts into top spot, in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.

Certainly, Saturday’s terrific win confirmed the view that last year’s first-ever EAPL title was no fluke – the Suffolk club are giving themselves a great chance of defending their crown.

Swardeston had dominated this competition in recent history, up until they were pipped by Sudbury last year, having won the title for five years on the trot between 2012 and 2016.

And they must have been confident of turning the tables on their opponents, when winning the toss and making early inroads in Sudbury’s batting line-up.

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Inserted into bat, Sudbury lost both openers, Keelan Waldock (0) and Ben Parker (10) with just 30 on the board.

Club captain Darren Batch, who was deputising as first-team skipper in Huggins’ absence (away in his coaching capacity with Essex at Lancashire), rescued the situation by sharing a 70-run stand for the third wicket with Kenny Moulton-Day.

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Wicketkeeper Moulton-Day plundered a quickfire 37, off 35 balls, while Batch top-scored with 50 off 71 deliveries.

The duo took the total on to 100, but Sudbury then lost their last eight wickets for the addition of just 64 runs.

Callum Taylor (four for 35) and Thomas Oxley (three for 26) were the main wicket-takers as Sudbury were dismissed for 164 in just 37 overs.

But that merely prompted the early arrival of Gallagher and Poulson, as Sudbury’s new-ball pair. The double act bowled superbly to reduce Swardeston to 35 for five, with all of their top five batsmen back in the pavilion for cheap scores.

Even a half-century from Peter Lambert (56) could not prevent Sudbury from cruising to a sixth win of the summer, from eight starts.

Poulson took the final two wickets to finish with figures of 11.5-1-27-5, while Gallagher, fresh from his six wickets in the previous weekend’s win over Vauxhall Mallards, took four for 42 off nine overs.

“It was a good weekend, all-round,” enthused club captain Batch.

“This win gives us such a boost to our confidence, to know that we can still put in such a performance and win without the likes of Tom Huggins and Adam Mansfield (school commitments).

“We knew that bowling would be our main strength, especially without Tom opening the batting, and so it proved.

“It’s a big win for us, over one of our biggest rivals, and it shows that we can be title contenders again this year, and that last year was not just a one-off,” added Batch.

Batting was always going to be difficult on Saturday, as Batch confirmed: “It was a used pitch, and it offered assistance to the bowlers all day, especially the seamers.

“It was a low, slow wicket, so runs were hard to come by, but Kenny (Moulton-Day) played in attacking fashion, riding his luck a little bit.

“If you play that way, then you need a little luck, especially in those sort of conditions, and there were some fine shots in his knock.

“It turned out to be the biggest partnership of the match (70), and personally it’s always nice to score some runs, especially when it’s in a big game and when it helps to lead to a team win.

“We felt that we were perhaps 20 of 30 runs short, at 164 all out. We had hoped to score 180-plus, but we still fancied our chances with out bowling attack.

“James (Poulson) and Jonny (Gallagher) had both bowled well this season, but had not really clicked together in the same match. But Saturday turned into the ‘Jonny and James show.’

“Our opening pair have been so important to us over the last 18 months, going back to last season. They have taken early wickets all year, and once again they put in a high level of performance, being completely disciplined in everything that they did.

“They had clear plans, which they executed.”

Lambert and Jeremy Elliott (31 not out) had guided Swardeston to 113 for six, just 52 runs short of victory, but the Norfolk hosts lost their last four wickets for 15 runs.

Batch continued: “The match was still in the balance until Jonny (Gallagher) managed to trap Peter Lambert LBW. He’s been a fine EAPL player over the years. That gave us the edge.

“It was a terrific weekend for the club, and now we have another big match against (third-placed) Mildenhall this Saturday.”

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