Rash takes four wickets as Mildenall win away at Norwich

Mildenhall batsman, Ben Shepperson, who top-scored with 84 in a five-wicket win at Norwich. Picture:

Mildenhall batsman, Ben Shepperson, who top-scored with 84 in a five-wicket win at Norwich. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

In-form Mildenhall celebrated a hat-trick of victories to continue their “good season” in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, following a five-wicket success away at Norwich on Saturday.

Tom Rash, who dismissed Syed Kazmi this morning to pave the way for Suffolk's big win over Hertfords

Tom Rash, who dismissed Syed Kazmi this morning to pave the way for Suffolk's big win over Hertfordshire. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Captain Tom Rash bowled superbly, in not particularly conducive bowling conditions, to help restrict Norwich to a modest total of 225 for six off 64 overs.

The West Suffolk visitors then reached their target off just 40 overs, thanks chiefly to an aggressive 61 from Joe Reed at the top of the innings, and a majestic 84 by Ben Shepperson in the middle order, aided by an unbeaten 38 from recent recruit Tristan Blackledge.

“We are having a good season, certainly the sort of season we were hoping for,” enthused skipper Rash, the Suffolk county all-rounder.

“We wanted to be up near the top, and although there is a still long way to go, we are in a good position.

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“It also helps to have some winning momentum. That’s three wins on the trot for us now, as we enter the win-lose (50 overs a side) stage of the competition again from next weekend.

“We are only a point behind Swardeston, who are second, though obviously Sudbury have a big lead at the top. It’s a big ask to catch Sudbury, because we are 41 points behind.

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“It basically means we have to win every game, while they have to slip up two or three times. But we are playing well, and we won’t be taking bottom club Bury St Edmunds lightly this weekend.

“Bury will be hungry to get a win, being at the bottom of the table, and we are fully aware that they possess some very dangerous players,” added Rash, with reference to this Saturday’s local derby at Wamil Way.

Opener Jack Newby was the backbone of Norwich’s innings, after home captain Ashley Watson had won the toss and opted to bat first on a dry wicket at Postwick.

Newby batted throughout to finish on 114 not out. It was a patient knock, compiled off 190 balls and featuring 16 fours.

Rash spearheaded a good all-round effort from Mildenhall’s bowlers, claiming figures of 9-2-27-4.

Having taken the early wicket of opener Martin Greillier (12), caught by Tom Allen, Rash returned to get rid of danger-man Will O’Donnell, again caught by Tom Allen, at mid-wicket.

O’Donnell had struck a six and hit nine boundaries in his 65, off 119 deliveries. His departure, leaving the total on 137 for two, was an important breakthrough, as a watchful Norwich struggled for momentum for the rest of their innings.

“At half-way, 225 looked about a par score, but in the end we thought they got 25 more runs than they should have done,” explained Rash.

“If I had won the toss, then I would have batted first as well, because the wicket was very dry and also a used one.

“However, we have such a powerful batting line-up that we are able to chase down these sort of scores.

“Norwich batted fairly circumspectly, and although we only took six wickets, we took wickets at the right times.

“They were never able to get away from us.

“I was happy with the way that I bowled. There wasn’t much in the wicket for me, so I was bowling big cutters, and getting the wicket of Will O’Donnell was a big one, with him chipping to Tom Allen at mid-wicket.

“It wasn’t my sort of pitch, so I had to adapt my bowling, but I thought all our bowlers adapted really well and bowled well as a unit.

“Our spinners didn’t take wickets, but they kept it very tight,” added Rash.

Mildenhall slipped to 51 for three, in their reply, with both Joe Allen and James Stamatis dismissed for ducks by Aaron Watson, and Nick Maiolo trapped leg before by Ashley Watson for 18. However, opener Joe Reed plundered 61 off 57 balls, with two sixes and nine fours, putting on 96 for the fourth wicket with Suffolk county batsman Shepperson, who went on to make a match-winning 84 off 106 balls.

A fourth-wicket stand of 67 between Shepperson and Blackledge effectively saw Mildenhall to a third win on the trot, following their previous successes over Horsford and Cambridge Granta.

“Joe (Reed) is an enigma. While the wickets were going down around him, he just continued to play his normal game,” continued Rash.

“He broke the back of the job, by scoring quickly, which enabled Shepps (Shepperson) to play himself in before he too started playing in his normal attacking style.

“There was a blip, when Ben ran out Joe. It was a mix-up, with Joe looking for two and Ben just the one, but Ben went on to almost see us home,” added Rash, the former Copdock & OI stalwart.

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