Outstanding display by Tom Huggins sees Bury St Edmunds secure first win

BURY St Edmunds skipper Tom Huggins produced one of – if not the – outstanding all-round display in the history of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League on Saturday.

Huggins scored 149 not out and then took seven for 39 including six wickets in successive overs as Bury beat Halstead by 148 runs at Star Stile to record their first league victory of the campaign, and simultaneously cast their Essex opponents further adrift at the foot of the table.

The 29-year-old Suffolk opener shared in an opening stand of 267 with Sasha Ward, who scored his maiden Premier League century before falling for 126, as Bury declared on 314 for one.

Huggins said: “I have felt out of form this year, and apart from the century I scored against Great Witchingham, I have not made a decent score. I had three or four nets with (Bury St Edmunds coach) Bobby Flack last week and worked hard at my game.

“It was not so much technical work, but making sure my head was in order, and I was a lot clearer about what I wanted to do.”

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Huggins, whose career-best score is 210 for Northants 2nd XI versus Worcestershire at Kidderminster in 2003, heaped praise on his 19-year-old opening partner.

“He played exceptionally well. He is good to bat with – he is quite laid back – and we seem to get on well. When one of us was going through a quiet period the other was scoring reasonably well. It makes it easier when you are batting well with someone you get on well with.”

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The visitors turned the screw in the last session, taking seven Halstead wickets to finally record their first win and with it pocketed 30 points.

“The last session proved what we are capable of doing, and showed what we need to do to perform as well as we know we can.

“Before tea we were bowling and fielding as well as we could have been.

“But we responded well and our bowling and fielding was top drawer as we got on a roll and held some good catches.

“Tom Rash bowled well – it was his type of pitch – and it turned and bounced at my end.

“We certainly had the best of the pitch batting first,” added Huggins, who recorded career-best bowling figures of 17.4-5-39-7.

Essex all-rounder Michael Comber also produced a stunning display, returning figures of 16.2-6-37-8 as Saffron Walden were dispatched for only 68 to lose by 110 runs at Vista Road.

That was after Clacton slipped to 97 for seven before Shanaka Silva (24), Imran Sheikh (35) and Lewis Kirk (22 not out) rallied their innings.

Copdock & Old Ipswichian crashed to their third defeat on the spin as they were dismissed for only 82 in 25.1 overs, Michael Eccles claiming 13-3-36-6, at Swardeston.

However, with Namibian international Christi Viljoen responding with 13-4-28-5, Swardeston were made to sweat as they squeezed home by two wickets.

Sudbury held on for a draw at home to Horsford, for whom Essex batsman Jaik Mickleburgh made 75. The home team limped to 138 for eight in reply to the visitors’ 251 for seven declared.

Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League scoreboard

*Burwell 150 in 45 overs (W Lawton 47, T Williams 20, P Bradshaw 5 for 56). Vauxhall Mallards 151 for 6 in 51.1 overs (A Shearer 65no, K Toner 3 for 40). Vauxhall Mallards (25pts) bt Burwell (5pts) by 4 wkts.

*Clacton 178 in 63.1 overs (G Brown 41, I Sheikh 35, S Silva 24, L Kirk 22no). Saffron Walden 68 in 33.2 overs (M Comber 8 for 37). Clacton (30pts) bt Saffron Walden (5pts) by 110 runs.

Cambridge Granta 186 in 59.5 overs (C Park 78, D Rice 41, H Beddows 21, C Rogers 3 for 45, W Lonsdale 3 for 47). *Great Witchingham 94 in 27.2 overs (S Arthurton 34, J Spelman 25, T Clarke 5 for 12). Cambridge Granta (30pts) bt Great Witchingham (5pts) by 92 runs.

Bury St Edmunds 314 for 1 dec in 56 overs (T Huggins 149no, S Ward 126, S Rees 28no). Halstead 166 in 54.4 overs (D Sincuba 51, T Huggins 7 for 39). Bury St Edmunds (30pts) bt Halstead (1pt) by 148 runs.

Horsford 251 for 7 dec in 62 overs (J Mickleburgh 75, N Perry-Warnes 32no, M Spenceley 31, L Caswell 29, C Sabburg 23, M Warnes 21, D Batch 3 for 50). Sudbury 138 for 8 in 60 overs (J Phillips 44, N Poole 22, A Mansfield 20no, M Warnes 4 for 33). Sudbury (6pts) drew with Horsford (15pts).

Copdock & Old Ipswichian 82 in 25.1 overs (H Thomas 23no, M Eccles 6 for 36). Swardeston 83 for 8 in 33.1 overs (L Denmark 34, S Gray 20, C Viljoen 5 for 28). Swardeston (25pts) bt Copdock and OI (4pts) by 8 wkts.

*Denotes home team.

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