Mildenhall claim scalp of former champions Swardeston in EAPL opener

Tom Rash, who scored 43 on his Mildenhall debut after bowling tightly with figures of 10-3-25-0 in t

Tom Rash, who scored 43 on his Mildenhall debut after bowling tightly with figures of 10-3-25-0 in the win over Swardeston .Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Mildenhall will have raised a few eyebrows after recording a fine two-wicket win over former champions Swardeston on the opening day of the East Anglian Premier League season, at Wamil Way on Saturday.

Pipped by Sudbury to the title last season, Swardeston had won the previous five years (2012-16), but they suffered an early defeat against impressive Mildenhall, who have been boosted by several new arrivals for this summer.

Overseas player, Nick Maiolo, ex-Mistley all-rounder James Stamatis, former Bury batsman Ben Curran and the ex-Copdock & Old Ipswichian duo of Tom Rash and Hugo Douglas, all made their Mildenhall debuts against their fancied Norfolk visitors.

Home skipper, Ben Shepperson, won the toss and elected to field, and despite a steady start from Swardeston openers Jordan Taylor (29) and Jason Reynolds (13), wickets soon began to tumble.

Debutant Stamatis made the first breakthrough, bowling danger-man Taylor with the total on 58, and fellow opener Reynolds soon followed without any addition to the score, Stamatis this time taking the catch off veteran spinner Murtaza Hussain.

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The key wicket of hard-hitting skipper Joe Gatting (8) was claimed by a smart run out, engineered by Shepperson, after which the visitors’ innings was held together by Peter Lambert.

New recruit Maiolo, an Australian all-rounder, claimed impressive figures of 10-1-32-3, while fellow spinner Hussain took two for 31 off his 10 overs as Swardeston were eventually bowled out for 222, with two balls of their innings still remaining.

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Lambert top-scored with 61 off 56 balls, including 10 fours, while late order batsmen Mark Thomas (27) and James Walker (23) added 56 for the ninth wicket to at least post Mildenhall a testing target.

The home side were always ahead of the run-rate, during their reply, despite the early departure of opener Curran.

Opener Joe Reed (35 off 32 balls) and Maiolo (45 off 43 balls) gave the innings real impetus with a 53-run stand for the second wicket.

Rash made 43 on his debut, putting on 68 with Matt Allen (29) for the sixth wicket, but both men then fell with the score on 194, leaving Kyle Morrison and Douglas to eventually guide Mildenhall home with two wickets and 9.2 overs in hand.

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