Sudbury look doomed on a weekend of local defeats
- Credit: Andy Abbott
All five of the Suffolk and Essex clubs, in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, suffered defeats on the penultimate weekend of the season.
The most significant was the loss endured by basement club Sudbury, who look odds on to be relegated after losing at home to Saffron Walden.
Fellow strugglers Copdock & Old Ipswichian and Bury St Edmunds were also beaten, and so remain in the relegation mix, while defeats for Woolpit and Clacton ensured a miserable weekend for local sides.
Sudbury, though, are cast adrift at the foot of the table, with just one round of matches remaining. They are 25 points behind second-from-bottom Copdock, and 29 behind Bury, and so although mathematically not relegated, it will require a miracle for them to escape at the death.
Hosts Sudbury actually did well to bowl out Saffron Walden for 193, thanks to four wickets apiece from Jandre Coetzee and Jonathan Gallagher.
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But it could have been better, because they had the visitors reeling at 119 for seven, until a half-century stand between Simon Parmenter (43) and Joe Barrs (42) took the score into the realms of respectability.
Still, Sudbury must have fancied their chances of victory, despite losing both openers, Jay Phillips and Nathan Poole, before 20 runs were on the board.
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Adam Mansfield (38) and Ben Reece (31) shared a 61-run partnership for the third wicket, but Sudbury then slumped from 80 for two to 166 for six, with Andrew Gale doing the main damage with three wickets.
All-rounder Coetzee tried to halt the slide with a run-a-ball 36, but when he became the seventh victim with the score on 140, Saffron Walden had an advantage that they never let slip. Barrs cleaned up the tail to inflict a 27-run defeat on Sudbury.
Meanwhile, Bury St Edmunds’ Achilles heel – chasing a target in the second innings – returned to haunt them at home to Burwell, despite the best efforts of captain Tom Huggins.
The visitors posted a total of 265, thanks primarily to an impressive 84 from Jeffrey Keyt. Bury’s cause was not helped by clocking up 31 extras.
Huggins was Bury’s best bowler, with four for 55, and it was he who led from the front in the reply, top-scoring with 63, including 11 boundaries and a six.
Unfortunately, there was no real support for Huggins. Wickets fell at regular intervals and Bury were eventually skittled out for just 129, to lose by a big margin of 136 runs.
Sudbury’s defeat, however, means that Bury require only two points from that last game, away at West Suffolk rivals Woolpit, to be mathematically safe.
Copdock & Old Ipswichian also need to take six points from their final fixture, away at Clacton, to be safe, after losing by five wickets at the hands of Vauxhall Mallards.
Copdock lost their top five batsmen for just 65, before James East (59) and Jed Cawkwell (37) boosted the final total to 160 all out. An opening stand of 92 between David Turner and Robbie Bridgestock effectively won the match for the visitors, despite three wickets for Chris Swallow.
Elsewhere Clacton, who at one stage were up to third in the table, have dropped down to sixth following an eight-wicket loss at Horsford.
The Essex side were dismissed for just 135 in 48 overs, even though George Brown (30) and Muhammad Atif (31) had shared a half-century partnership for the first wicket. Luke Caswell took six wickets, with only Tim Alexander (24 not out) offering any late resistence.
Fifties by Nathan Perry and Caswell wrapped up the win, inside 35 overs.
Woolpit did well to make 247 for nine in their match at leaders Swardeston, especially as they had lost their first five wickets before 100 was on the board.
Woolpit’s three biggest scores were made by the middle or late order – Julian Crudeli (43), Alistair Stewart (40 not out) and Ben Shepperson (37).
It required a superb unbeaten 128 by Stephen Gray to see Swardeston to victory, by four wickets, and so take them a step nearer the title.
Crudeli took the first three wickets, to leave their Norfolk hosts on 44 for three, before Gray took over. He struck 20 boundaries and faced 127 ball for his 128 and, with help from Jason Reynolds (36), ensured Swardeston’s 14th win of the season.
Mistley leapfrogged Hadleigh into second spot, in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, thanks to a crushing eight-wicket win at New Road.
Hadleigh were rolled over for just 68, in just 26.4 overs, with Kyran Young and T Scott taking four and three wickets respectively.
Young (38 not out) and Simon Barlow (23no) saw Mistley home, off just 14.1 overs, to inch two points clear of Hadleigh, with just one round of matches remaining. Both sides have won 13 of their 21 fixtures.
Champions Frinton duly recorded their 18th win of the campaign, by 88 runs over Maldon.
Craig Perrin top-scored with 84, and half-centuries by Matt Foakes (54no) and Ben Wilcock (59) boosted Frinton’s final total to 266 for six. Maldon were dismissed for 178, with Ian Elliott left unbeaten on 75.
Halstead and Elmstead Grasshoppers have already been relegated from Division One.
Basement club Halstead lost by eight wickets at Witham. Jack Sambrook and Jake Wakelin both took four wickets in Halstead’s tally of 148, and Wakelin then contributed 85 as Witham overhauled the visitors’ 148 inside 29 overs.
Grasshoppers were beaten by 40 runs at the hands of Mildenhall, who were boosted by Essex batsman Tom Westley’s 48 at the top of the innings in a total of 181.
Dale Carter took five wickets for Grasshoppers, but the home club disappointed in their reply of 141, James Holmes finishing with figures of four for 28.
Worlington and Lakenheath have been promoted from Division Two.
Leaders Worlington were actually beaten by eight wickets at lowly Mildenhall 2nd XI. Martin Taylor (4 for 48) and Tom Allen (3 for 38) restricted Worlington to just 179 off their 45 overs.
Frank Bester then continued his excellent form, which had seen him make 150 on the previous Sunday. Bester (89) and Andy Squire (65 not out) shared a partnership of 131 to clinch an unlikely result for second-from-bottom Mildenhall.
There was no such slip-up from promoted Lakenheath, although they only beat bottom club Long Melford by two wickets. Matt Hoadley top-scored with 42 for the home side, and Lakenheath then recovered from a precarious 11 for four to snatch victory, helped by Robert Horrex (45) and P Akolade Olawale (39 not out).