Mildenhall claim last-ball victory at Cambridge Granta

Tom Rash, who scored 70 in Mildenhall's dramatic win at Cambridge Granta. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Tom Rash, who scored 70 in Mildenhall's dramatic win at Cambridge Granta. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Mildenhall won a thriller off the last ball to seal a nail-biting one-run victory at Cambridge Granta in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League on Saturday.

The visitors looked dead and buried after limping along to 49 for four, but recovered to post a respectable 222 for eight off their allotted 50 overs.

Even so, Mildenhall again seemed on the brink of a heavy defeat, when Granta cruised to 158 for one in their reply on home turf at the Clare College Sports Ground.

But that’s when the Suffolk side showed their terrific strength in depth, with skipper Ben Shepperson getting the most out of his bowling attack to squeeze home to a satisfying victory.

Granta were left marooned on 221 for seven, succumbing to a surprise defeat after openers Ben Claydon (80) and Tristan Blackledge (45) had put on 117 for the first wicket.

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Shepperson takes up the story of what was a dramatic afternoon.

“Having lost four early wickets, it was always going to be a challenge to get past 200,” explained Shepperson, who was the fourth wicket to fall with the score on 49.

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“It was a slow pitch, and the massive outfield meant it was difficult to score boundaries, so in the end we were happy to get to 222. James Stamatis (75) and Tom Rash (70) got us out a hole. James dug in at the start, while Tom was more aggressive and took the game to them by counter-attacking.

“But James then opened up and overtook Tom,” added Shepperson.

The duo put on 151 for the fifth wicket, ex-Mistley all-rounder Stamatis facing 108 balls for his 75, while Rash was the eighth and last wicket to fall after facing 100 deliveries for his 70.

From a strong position of 158 for one, Granta then lost their way.

“The writing was on the wall, but after the drinks break we decided to try a few things. I used eight bowlers in all, including Joe Reed (5-0-19-1), who had not bowled in the first match and not bowled much last season,” explained Shepperson.

“In the end, they needed 14 to win off the last two overs, and then seven off the last over. Hugo (Douglas) bowled it and I just told him to bowl as fast as he could, because he’s difficult to face at 6ft 8ins.

“They needed two off the last ball, but he (skipper Jonathan Atkinson) top-edged it to fine leg, where Ben Curran took the catch.”

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