Bury win at Norwich to boost bid to avoid threat of relegation
- Credit: Archant
Bury St Edmunds, hopelessly cast adrift at the bottom of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League just three weeks ago, are now a mere seven points behind second-from-bottom Norwich.
The miracle escape act is very much alive, after Bury followed up good wins at Mildenhall and over Cambridge Granta with an eight-wicket success at lowly rivals Norwich on Saturday.
Sean Park’s Bury side bowled out Norwich for just 98, in 38.3 overs, and reached their target for the loss of just two wickets inside 25 overs to cut the deficit to their Norfolk rivals from 31 to seven points, with four fixtures still remaining.
Dominic Manthorpe took three wickets, and the Bury trio of Alastair Allchin, Sean Cooper and Josh Cantrell all claimed two wickets to leave Norwich on the back foot.
Overseas batsman Murray Commins then ensured there would be no real scares as he made 53 not out at the top of the innings to guide the Suffolk visitors to victory.
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“It’s been a lucky three for us, with three wins on the bounce,” explained captain Park.
“These three results have given us at least a chance of avoiding the play-off game at the end of the season, but we are still seven points adrift of Norwich, which effectively means we are still a win behind, while hoping that they don’t win.
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“Still, we have given ourselves a fighting chance, and that didn’t look very likely three weekends ago when we were marooned at the foot of the table.
“These 75 points have made all the difference. The win over Mildenhall was an unexpected one, while the boys found it tough going to beat (Cambridge) Granta the previous weekend.
“I think we have a slightly easier run-in than Norwich as well, because their last four fixtures look tougher than ours.
“However, having said that, every team seems to be beating everyone this season, so it might not be the case that we have the easier run-in.
“We have two games in a row, against Horsford and then Copdock & Old Ipswichian, before we end the season with away games at Burwell & Exning, and Frinton,” added Park.
Norwich were quickly reduced to 17 for three, Allchin removing opener Jack Newby (3) and Nipune Senarante (4), the former caught by wicketkeeper Alfie Marston and the latter clean bowled.
New-ball partner Manthorpe bowled overseas star Will O’Donnell for a second-ball duck, before Cooper and Cantrell then took over the bowling duties, to good effect.
Cooper bowled skipper Ashley Watson for a patient 14, and although opener Alex Mhandu (21) and Matthew Collinge (21) then put on 44 for the fifth wicket, Norwich then lost their last six wickets for the addition of just 11 runs, subsiding from 87 for four to 98 all out.
Manthorpe finished with figures of 8-3-13-3, and he was well supported by Allchin (8-0-29-2), Cooper (10-2-29-2) and Cantrell (7.3-2-8-2).
In reply, although opener Tom Curran only made three, he hung around with Commins to put on 24 for the first wicket, before Commins and Luke Du Plooy (22) added 44 for the second wicket.
Commins faced 71 balls for his 53 not out, featuring a six and seven fours, while Max Whittaker was unbeaten on 13 from 32 balls.
“Confidence is high in the camp now,” enthused Park.
“Whereas before we only had individual performances with the ball, and Murray (Commins) making a few runs with the bat, now we have four or five guys making a contribution.
“A few more are chipping in with a couple of wickets, or 20-odd runs.
“It was a difficult wicket at Norwich, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do after winning the toss.
“They said that the wicket tends to crumble during the second innings, but they had just had five days of rain, so we took the gamble that the pitch could hold out, and that’s what it did.
“Both Dominic (Manthorpe) and Ally (Allchin) put the ball in the right areas, and Sean (Cooper) and Josh (Cantrell) carried on the good work by keeping up the pressure on the batsmen.
“It was a good all-round team effort from our bowlers, and that has been our main strength of the last few weeks.
“Murray (Commins) then batted well to steer us to victory, which is what you want from you professional.
“The scoreboard might suggest that it was a comfortable victory, but it wasn’t that easy. There were a lot of lbw shouts, near misses and other chances, so we had to work hard,” concluded Park.