Bottom club Bury St Edmunds cause major upset by winning at Mildenhall
Bury St Edmunds, boosted by a fine knock from Murray Commins, and then some tight bowling, celebrated what was only their second victory of the season at West Suffolk rivals Mildenhall on Saturday.
It was a real upset, when considered that basement dwellers Bury had begun the day 67 points adrift at the foot of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League table, and that Mildenhall were riding high in third place.
However, the visitors dug deep to record a narrow win by 21 runs, and so at least keep alive their slender hopes of avoiding the end-of-season relegation play-off game.
“This win at least gives us a little momentum,” said skipper Sean Park, who made 41 with the bat and then took the last two wickets of Mildenhall’s innings.
Park continued: “We haven’t yet accepted the fact that we will definitely be in the play-off game at the end of the season, although we do know that we have probably fallen too far behind the rest.
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“We still have a lot of catching up to, and the teams above us all seem to be beating each other, but hopefully we can win two or three more during the last six games of the season.
“That way, if we are in the play-off game, at least we go into it with a lot more confidence, and with a bit of momentum.
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“We are up against Cambridge Granta this weekend, who are not having the best of seasons, by their high standards,” added Park.
Put into bat by Mildenhall captain, Tom Rash, Bury made 223 for seven off their 50 overs on a pitch that was not an easy one to score freely.
Overseas player Commins was the backbone of the innings, and in fact was the only player on either side to score a half-century.
After South African Commins and Hugh Stanton (13) had put on 55 for the first wicket, Tom Curran was then trapped leg before by Nick Maiolo second ball to give Mildenhall a boost.
Young Alfie Marston contributed 29 off 48 balls in a 54-run partnership for the third wicket, alongside Commins, before the experienced pair of Park and Commins threatened to steer Bury to a big total.
However, Commins holed out in the deep, caught by Edward Finnis off the bowling of Tristan Blackledge, having made an excellent 84.
Commins struck 11 boundaries in his 104-ball stay, but his departure left the visitors on 142 for four.
All-rounder Park managed to hang around and then step up the run-rate during the final fifth of the innings, making 41 off 48 balls, while an in-form James Sturgeon again impressed with 23 not out off 24 balls.
“We were happy to get to 223, having got off to a slow start,” continued Bury skipper Park.
“Their spinners (Murtaza Hussain and Nick Maiolo) were excellent. They kept it very tight and only conceded 49 runs in their combined 20 overs.
“We just couldn’t get them away, so we felt at that stage that 200 would be a good score. To get to 223, therefore, gave us renewed confidence.
“Murray (Commins) batted really well, although it was a shame that he got out the way he did, holing out at deep square leg to what was not a very good ball. The two of us were just beginning to get going.
“We’ve had a discussion with Murray. We see his role for the rest of the season as trying to bat through the 50 overs, and the rest of us to bat around him.
“We did manage to up the tempo during the last 10 overs, getting another 70 runs which were to prove vital.”
Mildenhall were going well in their reply, reaching 75 before the fall of their second wicket, but no batsman managed to go on to make a big score.
James Stamatis top-scored with 39 at No. 4, but no one else even got to 30 as Bury bowled well as a team, spearheaded by Josh Cantrell’s effort of 10-2-34-3.
“We wanted to make sure that they did not get ahead of the run-rate, and everyone bowled well, at about three to four runs an over,” explained Park.
“It was the sort of pitch where, if you bowled in the right areas, then it was difficult to get the ball away.
“It was very important to get their big three of James Stamatis, Ben Shepperson and Tom Rash out within a five-over spell.
“A few of their late-order batsmen gave it a whack, but the run out of Matt Allen was crucial after Murtaza (Hussain) called for a run. He was run out by half-a-yard – that a vital wicket.
“Even their No. 11 (Finnis) gave it a go, and got the home spectators excited. In the end he holded out in the deep, close to getting another boundary.
“So we did just enough to get over the line,” added Park, Mildenhall being bowled out for 202 at the end of the 48th over.
Bury are now 49 points behind second-from-bottom Norwich. Mildenhall are in fourth.