Sudbury win at Mallards to stay well clear at the top

Martyn Cull, who top-scored for Sudbury with 79 not out in their win at Vauxhall Mallards. Picture:

Martyn Cull, who top-scored for Sudbury with 79 not out in their win at Vauxhall Mallards. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Sudbury remain a healthy 40 points clear of nearest challengers Swardeston, going into this Saturday’s head-to-head at Friars Street.

Defending champions Sudbury are still firmly in the box seat, after recording a 14th victory from 18 starts in the EAPL on Saturday, beating Vauxhall Mallards by a convincing margin of 120 runs.

Chasers Swardeston, who won the title in the previous five years (2012-2016) before Sudbury’s first-ever title in 2017, kept themselves in the hunt with a narrow 24-run win over Frinton-on-Sea.

With four games remaining, Sudbury look good bets to retain their crown, especially as they can afford to lose to Swardeston and still hold a handy lead.

Martyn Cull starred with the bat with 79 not out as Sudbury amassed 244 for six off 50 overs.

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Skipper Tom Huggins hit six fours in his knock of 33 at the top of the innings, while there were useful contributions from Darren Batch (24no), Ben Parker (14), and Kenny Moulton-Day (20), before Cull and Tim Johnston added 60 for the fifth wicket. Johnston breezed to 42 off 39 balls, with a six and four fours, while Cull’s well-compiled 79 not out came off 100 balls. He batted with restraint, striking just five fours but running well between the wickets.

In reply, Mallards advanced to 34 without loss before suffering a terrible batting collapse. They lost all 10 wickets in the space of adding only a further 90 runs.

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Johnston ran out opener Harry Williams to make the initial breakthrough, before Billy Moulton-Day removed both skipper Ben France (4) and overseas player Nicholas Smit (1) in quick succession.

Moulton-Day took two for 29 off eight overs, and Ben Reece broke the backbone of Mallards’ innings with three for 30 off nine overs.

There were two wickets apiece for Huggins and Stuart Whitehart as the Norfolk hosts were bowled out for 124 in 37.2 overs.

Over at Swardeston, the middle order of Jason Reynolds (41), Lewis Denmark (71 off 67 balls) and Freddie Ruffell (50) rescued the Norfolk side from a tricky 72 for four to help boost the total up to 250 for eight off 50 overs.

Frinton’s opening pair of Michael Comber (10-0-37-3) and Dan Carter (10-1-35-2) both bowled well, but Frinton finished short on 226 for nine, with no batsman making a half-century. Miguel Machado top-scored with 41.

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