Hope-Shackley plunders an unbeaten 160 in Wivenhoe’s win
The top three teams in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship all tasted victories on Saturday, as the title race hots up going into the final two months of the season.
Leaders Elmstead powered to an emphatic win over Worlington, by 82 runs, while second-placed Wivenhoe eased to a six-wicket victory at home to Maldon, inspired by some awesome batting from Liam Hope-Shackley.
There was also a win for third-placed Woolpit, by the big margin of 110 runs at Frinton 2nds, although fourth-placed Hadleigh were edged out by 21 runs at Mistley.
Pace-setters Elmstead stretched their lead from six to nine points, with a maximum 20-point win over Worlington, despite being put into bat by their visitors.
Elmstead failed to bat out their full 50 overs, but they still posted a challenging 263, thanks chiefly to a century from Ryan Vickery.
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Wicketkeeper Vickery struck a run-a-ball 118, putting on exactly 100 for the fifth wicket with Peter Webster (44) to take the score on from 112 to 212. There were three wickets apiece for Cody Golding and Nathan Twiddy.
Worlington’s reply began in encouraging fashion, with brothers Graham Ford (29) and Richard Ford (38) putting on 65 for the first wicket, but after that wickets began to fall regularly.
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Dan White dismissed both openers, on his way to figures of 10-0-38-4, and the Suffolk side were eventually bowled out for 180 with three balls of their innings left.
Elmstead have now won 11 of their 14 fixtures, while chasing Wivenhoe have won 10 of their 14, following a successful run-chase against mid-table Maldon.
After skipper Jimmy Ainscough had won the toss and opted to bat first, his Maldon side compiled a competitive 230 for five.
The innings was built around a 74-run partnership for the third wicket, between the free-scoring Ian Elliott (53 off 65 balls) and the more watchful Martyn Coker (60 off 111 deliveries), before Matt Wild struck a quickfire unbeaten 33 to boost the total during the final few overs.
Wivenhoe’s innings was bossed by the exceptional Liam Hope-Shackley, who plundered a tremendous 160 not out off 84 balls.
It was a dazzling display of brutal batting from No. 3 Hope-Shackley, after opener Matt Durrell had contributed 41 to ensure a brisk start to the Essex club’s reply.
Wivenhoe were staring down the barrel at 81 for four, but Hope-Shackley then completely dominated a sizzling 151-run stand with Louis Homewood to seal a six-wicket win.
Striking an amazing 12 sixes, and 17 boundaries, Hope-Shackley completed a stirring victory with 2.1 overs in hand. Homewood, content to take a back seat, contributed 10 not out off 51 balls.
Woolpit kept in the hunt for the title by out-classing Frinton 2nds, both with the bat and the ball.
Nathan Crudeli top-scored with 81 not out in Woolpit’s 234 for six off their 50 overs, after openers Jack Rowett (48) and captain Will Parker (43) had amassed 86 for the first wicket.
The visitors would have scored even more, but for some fine bowling from Tom Lawes, who took the first four wickets and finished with figures of 10-2-25-4.
In reply, Frinton subsided from 55 for one to lose their final nine wickets for just 69 on their way to a disappointing 124 all out.
No home batsman managed to even reach 20, and after James Holmes had produced a terrific spell of bowling to finish with 10-4-14-3, it was left to Chris Wells to clean up the tail with four for 26 off 6.3 overs.
Over at Mistley, James Scott was the stand-out performer in a 21-run win over Hadleigh.
Opener James Stamatis ensured a rapid start, by blasting 47 off 41 balls, with nine boundaries, but it was Scott who then took charge with an excellent 125 as Mistley reached 256 all out, with one ball of the innings remaining.
Kyle Tanner, who eventually bowled Scott, took six for 70 off 9.5 overs.
Hadleigh had a centurion of their own, in the shape of Brock Price, who completely dominated the visitors’ innings. He made a superb 118, at the top of the order, while the wickets continued to tumble at the other end.
From a desperate position of 107 for seven, still 150 runs short of victory, Hadleigh rallied with Price finally finding a reliable partner in Alex Milnes (35 not out) in a stand worth 81, before Price was caught by Bruce Leeke off the bowling of Stuart Dove.
Milnes and Daniel Shanks (27no) added an undefeated 47 for the ninth wicket, but it was not enough to avoid a sixth defeat of the season for Hadleigh. Ian Morton was the pick of the Mistley bowlers with three for 31 off his 10 overs.