Reed and Stamatis both plunder unbeaten centuries for victorious Mildenhall
Joe Reed and James Stamatis both struck unbeaten centuries as Mildenhall continued their impressive start to the 2018 Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League campaign, with an eight-wicket victory over Norwich on Saturday.
Having pegged back Norwich to a manageable 259 for seven off 49 overs (rain reduced the innings by just one over), the Suffolk hosts cruised home in style with 15 overs in hand, and eight wickets still in tact.
This third win from four matches – the other fixture was a wash-out – was built around superb knocks from opener Reed, who finished on 109 not out, and summer recruit Stamatis, who had made his way to 112 not out by the time that victory was achieved.
After the match, skipper Ben Shepperson described their unbroken stand of 213, for the third wicket, as “the best double-century partnership” he had ever seen at Mildenhall.
Now, only champions Sudbury and West Suffolk rivals Mildenhall have an unbeaten record, going into this weekend’s fifth round of matches.
Shepperson won the toss and elected to field, and six of his bowlers all took wickets as Norwich were restricted to 259 on a good batting strip at Wamil Way, after which Reed and Stamatis took control.
“We didn’t start too well in our reply, losing a couple of wickets, but we always knew where we had to be at,” explained Shepperson.
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“We wanted to be positive from the start, to get ahead of the run-rate, and that is what happened.
“Joe (Reed) is an aggressive cricketer, who is always ready to take the bowlers on. It was vital that he got through the first 10 overs or so, after which he really took it on.
“He has scored several fifties for us, in the East Anglian Premier League, but this was Joe’s first century. Having got into the 90s, he then reached his century with a couple of sixes.
“James (Stamatis) looks like being a big player for us this summer. By his own words, he scratched around a little for his 75 against Cambridge Granta the previous weekend, but it was a completely different innings from him on Saturday.
“He hit the ball in the middle of the bat all day. His stroke-play was crisp and the ball was flying off the bat.
“In fact, I would say this was the best double-century partnership I had ever seen at Mildenhall, and also two of the best individual hundreds that I have watched.
“It was a virtually chanceless 213-run partnership, which says it all. I think they had already put on about 180 when Joe was dropped with a caught-and-bowled chance. Otherwise, no other chances were given,” added Shepperson.
Earlier in the day, Kyle Morrison had bowled Oliver Higenbottam (0) with his fourth delivery of the morning, and Tom Rash had trapped Nipua Senaratne (7) leg before as Norwich slithered to 42 for two.
A 77-run stand between opener Jack Newby (69 off 65 balls) and skipper Ashley Watson (77) put the visitors back in the hunt, and there were also late middle order knocks from Lewis Sexton (29) and Andrew McGeorge (27no).
But veteran spinner Murtaza Hussain kept the reins tight with figures of 10-1-33-1, as did Australian all-rounder Mick Maiolo with his spell of 10-1-38-1.
In reply, Ben Curran (6) was bowled by Aaron Watson, and Watson also accounted for Miaolo (10) with the score on 42.
But that was the extent of Norwich’s joy, as Reed and Stamatis soon took the game beyond them.
All-rounder Reed, a club stalwart of several years, faced 96 balls for his 109 not out, featuring four sixes and 12 boundaries.
By contrast, fellow all-rounder Stamatis only arrived at Wamil Way from Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One side Mistley for the start of this season, keen to progress his career with Essex county 2nds.
Stamatis struck a six and 17 fours in his 94-ball innings, for his 112 not out.
“We did well to keep the runs down in their innings,” continued Shepperson. “Murtaza (Hussain) managed to tie them down, and we were happy to keep them to that score, although they did get away a bit at the end.
“All in all, it’s been a good start to the season, and now we can look forward to this weekend’s match against Bury St Edmunds.
“They haven’t started too well, but they are our local rivals and we cannot afford to slip up against them,” added Shepperson.
Mildenhall have so far beaten Swardeston, Cambridge Granta and Norwich, with their match at Horsford have been cancelled due to the wet weather in round two.
This Saturday’s match at The Victory Ground, against hosts Bury, will be the first of the long format, as opposed to the 50-overs-a-side contests of the first four weekends.