Leaders Worlington win another thriller by one wicket against Ipswich
Worlington remain top of Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, but they squeezed home by the narrowest of margins in Saturday’s one-wicket success over Ipswich in the Suffolk derby.
And second-placed Woolpit kept up the heat by taking a maximum 20 points from their 30-run win over Frinton 2nds.
In the end, it was a good day for leaders Worlington, not least because they had to field a depleted team against Ipswich, due to Craig Estlea’s Stag Weekend.
In addition to Estlea, pace-setters Worlington were also without the likes of key men Graham Ford and Jimmy Watson, plus Richard Ford (back injury).
Ipswich won the toss and elected to field, but were restricted to 191 for nine off their 50 overs. Their chief run-scorers were wicketkeeper March Burch (47) and Louis Perrin (34).
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Worlington bowled well as a team, spearheaded by ex-Bury pace-man Mark Nunn (10-2-20-1) and Ashan Athurkoralage (10-2-27-1), who both kept it very tight.
The main wicket-takers were an in-form Charlie Tunstall, who took three for 54 off his 10 overs, including the important scalps of both openers, Rob Southall and Joe Rusby, and also team-mate Craig Woollard, who grabbed three wickets late in the innings.
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Time was never a real issue in Worlington’s reply, especially following a 56-run opening partnership between Matthew Wittish (30) and Ziaf Kulasi (34).
Jack Elford (10-1-33-2) dismissed both openers in quick succession, with Southall also trapping Adam Gallop lbw, to leave the hosts on 73 for three.
Athurkoralage (62)and Nunn (24) steered Worlington back on track with a partnership of 69 for the fourth wicket, the biggest of the match.
But opening bowler Damien Smith returned to the attack to slice through the middle and lower order, taking four for 53 off his 10 overs, including dismissing both Nunn and Athurkoralage. The latter was the ninth wicket to fall with the score on 188, still four short of victory.
But the last pair of Lee Thompson and Woollard saw Worlington, who have become experts at winning close games this summer, to victory with one wicket and 5.3 overs to spare.
Over at Frinton, who had only narrowly lost by seven runs to Worlington the previous weekend, it was a more comfortable victory for Woolpit, who successfully defended a total of 218 all out to win by 30 runs.
Woolpit captain Will Parker won the toss and proceeded to top-score with 57 (nine fours) at the top of the innings, putting on 58 for the second wicket with Corey Polyak (30). There were also useful contributions from the experienced Andy Northcote (22), Ryan Newcombe (21) and Karl Holmes (27).
Cameron Rhodes claimed three for 59 off his 10 overs, including taking the wicket of Parker, but Frinton struggled early on in their reply.
Parker bowled Alex Price (2), after Alex Jackson had accounted for fellow opener Josh Frame (2), and despite middle order knocks from Rhodes (39) and Jermaine Shillingford (37, off just 20 balls), Frinton were eventually bowled out for 188 in the 45th over.
Northcote bowled danger-man Shillingford, who had smashed three sixes, to regain control for the visitors, while Parker took three for 28.
Elsewhere in Division One, Wivenhoe Town eased to an eight-win victory over bottom club Elmstead, the defending champions, thanks to an unbeaten century from Matt Durrell.
The home side were quickly reduced to 51 for four, although half-centuries by Ryan Vickery (53) and skipper Aian O’Brien (56) did help the final total up to 185 all out.
Mat Durrell returned figures of 9.1-4-17-4, while Harry Burnett took three for 19 off his 10 overs.
The Durrells, Matt and Tom, then saw Wivenhoe to victory with 9.3 overs in hand. Matt Durrell was 106 not out, accrued off 123 balls and featuring 19 fours and a six, while Tom Durrell hit a six and 10 fours in his knock of 74. The duo put on 179 for the second wicket.