Mildenhall's consolation cup win

MILDENHALL made up for league disappointment when they won the Greene King Suffolk Cup with a four-wicket win over hosts Bury St Edmunds at the Victory Ground on Sunday.

MILDENHALL made up for league disappointment when they won the Greene King Suffolk Cup with a four-wicket win over hosts Bury St Edmunds at the Victory Ground on Sunday.

Mildenhall were pipped for the title in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship by Halstead - and with it a place in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League alongside Bury.

But they proved a point to their EAPL neighbours with a fine display in the county's showpiece final.

After the match had been postponed due to a waterlogged outfield the previous week, conditions were much better on Sunday - but, inevitably, still pretty soggy.

The square had been covered for most of the wet spell and so remained firm, and when Justin Bishop won the toss he chose to bat on what was groundsman Bobby Flack's final senior wicket before retiring.

However, the Mildenhall opening bowlers were straight on the mark.

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Lucky Phangabantu - who has proved a great success as Mildenhall's overseas player this season and is likely to return in 2009 - produced a testing opening spell alongside James Holmes. Runs were hard to come by and Tom Rash, Ben France and Tim Catley were all caught behind the wicket with just nine runs on the board.

Nick Lee stopped the rot and with Josh Davey saw the opening bowlers out of the attack. But when Steve Lankester - captaining the team in the absence of Craig Andrews - came on with his one-step spinners things did not get any easier - Davey was trapped leg before and it was 39 for four after 16 overs.

Suffolk wicket-keeper Chris Warn joined Lee and the county colleagues slowly began a fight-back.

Frannie Bester, hampered by a recurring back problem, proved expensive so Lankester called on veteran Andy Squire - the replacement for Andrews - to keep the run rate pegged. He sent down 10 overs for just 41 runs, while Lankester's 10 cost 31.

But the fifth-wicket partnership was starting to prosper, bring up the 100 in the 32nd over. Lee reached his half-century but Warn was denied when he was on 49 when he drove Ben Shepperson straight to Squire at short extra cover.

Phangabantu returned to the attack and Lee drove his second ball to extra cover where Shepperson hung on to the catch. He had scored 82 and it was 152 for six.

Phangabantu also bowled Bishop as he completed fine figures of 10-2-13-4 and Holmes also picked up a wicket in his second spell. Phangabantu had not finished - his accurate return to wicket-keeper Karl Holmes ran out Simon Rees (14) and then he threw the stumps down to dismiss Patrick Barker off his own bowling to end the innings at 181.

That represented a decent recovery by Bury with a slow outfield and a bit of help in the wicket for the bowlers.

Mildenhall had a steady start from Chris Baugh (29) and Richard Cross (7) but both were caught behind by Warn, as was Ziaf Kulasi. Bester was trapped lbw by France and it was 68 for four.

Squire came in to liven the innings as he scored 34 out of a partnership of 49 with Watson before edging behind to give Warn a fourth catch. Shepperson also kept the board ticking over with 11 before lofting a drive to Lee to become Mark Nunn's second victim.

Now it was 133 for six, and the result was still in the balance.

Lankester came in while Watson remained vigilant. A vociferous appeal for a catch off Simon Rees when the ball ballooned up off Lankester's arm was rejected and Lankester broke free to take 11 runs off the remainder of the over.

Watson then joined the party, taking his score to 32, while Lankester was on 38 after an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 52 to secure victory in the 48th over.

It was Mildenhall's first Suffolk Cup win since 1997 and Phangabantu received the Man of the Match award.

The annual President v Chairman match will round off Mildenhall's season on Sunday, and although they will remain in Division One of the Two Counties they will have a new-look pavilion next summer - work on the redevelopment will start soon.

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