Rollercoaster start for newcomers Sudbury

IT WAS a fantastic start to the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League with just one thing going wrong – the final result!

“It felt like we’d won the game, then lost it, then won it back again – and then lost it again,” said shellshocked Sudbury skipper Darren Batch.

It was certainly a rollercoaster of a match, with visitors Halstead eventually holding their nerve to snatch a four-run win as they successfully defended a meagre total of 116.

It all began so well for the home side. Matt Hunn, who has joined the club from Easton, opened up with a quick opening spell and dismissed both Halstead openers for ducks.

At the other end Jonny Gallagher was keeping it tight and he had the dangerous Matt Spatcher caught behind. Halstead were seven for three.

The change bowlers did not allow any respite as 17-year-old Nathan Poole had Amit Gupta caught by Batch at mid-on for 22 and Craig Smith – another new recruit, having joined from Hornchurch – also played his part as Batch grabbed another catch.

By now Tom Philp was digging in at one end while Freddie Blackwell was more aggressive until he fell just before lunch, leg before to Smith.

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The home team’s their first taste of EAPL cricket saw them enjoy their lunch with Halstead 90 for six.

The visitors progressed to 116 when Gallagher brought matters to a speedy conclusion.

He bowled Philp for 15, made from 85 balls, and after a dot ball he ended the innings by taking a hat-trick. His four wickets in five balls left him with impressive figures of five for 12 in eight overs.

“The umpire said it was one of the best overs he’d seen in the Premier League,” reported Batch – not bad for Gallagher’s first game in the competition.

But Sudbury’s elation at removing their opponents so cheaply was soon doused as they, in turn, saw their top-order batsmen wiped aside.

Amit Gupta had Pete Siegert, last year’s captain, caught behind and Batch soon followed, trapped lbw by a Philp inswinger. Al Younger shouldered arms and was bowled by Gupta, and Matt Pears, Adam Mansfield and Ben Reece all went without scoring for a total of five deliveries between them.

Suji Janaka, the Sri Lankan filling in until Hasantha Fernando arrives next month, watched from the other end waiting to make better acquaintance with his batting partners. At last he found somebody who could stick around as Poole continued his impressive EAPL debut with a mature innings.

The pair added 67 to take the total to 105 for six and seemed to have victory in their grasp. But there were cruel blows ahead for Sudbury.

Poole played the ball into a gap on the offside and went for a run. But Janaka was not moving. The inevitable followed as Poole was unable to regain his ground and was run out.

Craig Smith came in, hit a boundary, and was given out leg before to Spatcher. Gallagher scored a single, then departed in similar fashion. Now it was 111 for nine as Hunn came to the crease.

Disastrously for Sudbury Janaka hit the ball into the outfield and was determined to get two runs to return to the strike. Hunn, however, was struggling to get to the non-striker’s end and, despite a despairing dive, was run out.

Sudbury 112 all out. Defeat by four runs and – rather harshly – they only picked up four points while cock-a-hoop Halstead went home with 30.

Sudbury learned a number of lessons. “We were very confident about our bowling and fielding ability and I’m really pleased with how that went,” said Batch. “Now we have to try to improve our batting.

“We go to Great Witchingham on Saturday, against a team we’ve never played before, and there could be less pressure against a new team on a new ground.”

That remains to be seen. But Sudbury have already made a big impression in their new league.

Results round-up

Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League

Swardeston 309 for 6 dec (56 overs: J Hatwell 141). Burwell 248 (60.3 overs: P Richer 71, F Bester 51, G Walker 4 for 47). Swardeston (30pts) bt Burwell (7) by 61 runs.

*Bury St Edmunds 205 for 9 (66 overs: T Huggins 86, T Adams 40, C Wright 24, C Rogers 3 for 38). Great Witchingham 197 for 7 (54 overs: C Rogers 51, Sam Arthurton 38, Shaun Arthurton 29, J Spelman 24, T Huggins 5 for 64). Bury St Edmunds (15) drew with Great Witchingham (12).

*Horsford 245 for 5 (66 overs: L Caswell 79, D Clark 52). Cambridge Granta 79 (34.5 overs). Horsford (30) beat Cambridge Granta (2) by 166 runs.

Clacton 126 (54 overs: M Cull 44, J Rodgers 4 for 41, T Smith 3 for 9 in 18 overs). Saffron Walden 127 for 4 (30.2 overs: G Ecclestone 53no, G Gillard 25). Saffron Walden (25) beat Clacton (2) by 6 wickets.

Halstead 116 (42 overs: F Blackwell 30, A Gupta 22, J Gallagher 5 for 12). Sudbury 112 (30.2 overs: S Janaka 49no, N Poole 33, T Philp 4 for 35). Halstead (30) beat Sudbury (4) by 4 runs.

*Vauxhall Mallards 260 (59.2 overs: G Addicott 100no). Norwich 78 (30.4 overs: S Potger 4 for 1). Vauxhall Mallards (30) beat Norwich (5) by 182 runs.

* Denotes home team

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