Sudbury retain 40-point lead at the top with win over Great Witchingham

Sudbury bowler James Poulson, who top-scored with 62 not out before also impressing with the ball in

Sudbury bowler James Poulson, who top-scored with 62 not out before also impressing with the ball in the win over Great Witchingham. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Sudbury moved a step closer to retaining their Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League title, after beating Great Witchingham by 45 runs at Friars Street.

The Suffolk side therefore collected another 25 points, and although nearest challengers Swardeston also tasted victory (at Burwell & Exning by 83 runs) the lead remains a healthy 40 points with just five matches remaining.

The top two meet in a couple of weeks time (August 25), at Friars Street, but Sudbury can afford to lose that game and still win the title if they taste victory in their other four remaining fixtures.

Table-topping Sudbury, who won the league for the first time in their history last year, were helped by three half-century makers after being put into bat by Great Witchingham captain, Sam Arthurton.

Having lost the toss, Sudbury skipper Tom Huggins was an early casualty, caught by wicketkeeper Sam Groves off the dangerous Andrew Hanby to leave the home side on 14 for one. However, fellow opener Adam Mansfield and Martyn Cull, promoted to No. 3 due to the unavailability of Darren Batch, put on 84 runs for the second wicket.

Cull made 37 off 63 balls, but the home side’s middle order then wobbled as Sudbury lost four wickets for the addition of just 11 runs to lurch to 133 for six.

After Suffolk county captain Mansfield had made 58 early on, both Tim Johnston and James Poulson emulated him with valuable half-centuries in a match-winning partnership of 113 for the seventh wicket.

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Overseas all-rounder Johnston struck a rapid 57 off 52 balls, with a six and six fours, while a hard-hitting Poulson struck 62 not out off 65 deliveries, with three sixes.

Those few late lusty blows from Poulson and Johnston lifted the final total to 257 for eight, but it was looking worrying for the home side when James Spelman (35) and skipper Arthurton (60) put on 79 for the first wicket in Great Witchingham’s reply.

But from a strong position of 115 for one, the visitors slithered to 134 for five, certainly not helped by three run-outs, all of them engineered by Ben Parker.

A stand of 41 between Brett Stolworthy (46) and Hanby (25) did give late impetus, but the visitors finished on 212 for seven.

The opening pair of Poulson (10-3-37-1) and Jonathan Gallagher (10-2-27-0) both bowled very tightly.

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