Rain wins the day as Sudbury look forward to clash with leaders Frinton

Ryan Vickery, who was one of three players to score 30 in Sudbury's drawn match against Burwell & Ex

Ryan Vickery, who was one of three players to score 30 in Sudbury's drawn match against Burwell & Exning.

The rain was the main winner, in both the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League, and the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, following a soggy Saturday.

EAPL pace-setters Frinton-on-Sea were the victims of one of two complete wash-outs. Their scheduled match at in-form Copdock & Old Ipswichian was abandoned without a ball being bowled, as was the contest between Saffron Walden and bottom club Vauxhall Mallards.

Defending champions Sudbury had a little more fortune in their home fixture against Burwell & Exning, which finally started at 3pm and was played in almost constant drizzle before being called off in the early evening.

Sudbury, hoping to retain their title to complete a hat-trick of EAPL crowns, made 216 for eight in their reduced 37 overs.

They were staring down the barrel a little as Burwell advanced to 94 without loss in their reply, off 14 overs, when the rain became heavier and the match was abandoned.

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Still, Sudbury earned nine points for their troubles, which was two more than they would have secured in a match abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The Friars Street club remain in third spot, but have now cut the gap to leaders Frinton to 26 points, with second-placed Swardeston 10 points better off than their Suffolk rivals.

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This Saturday could prove crucial, because Sudbury travel to leaders Frinton for a match that could decide the destiny of the title, although club captain Darren Batch is not getting carried away by that one fixture.

"Next weekend is a big match, and as our skipper Adam (Mansfield) said in the dressing room this weekend, its games like this that are the reason whey we are playing the game," explained Batch.

"We want to do well in the big games, but there is still a lot of cricket to play after next weekend, whatever the result at Frinton.

"Like all games, we will be going into it aiming for the win - there's no point in just trying to draw it. We always have a very positive mindset.

"But we mindful of not putting too much emphasis on this one match. There are still six games to play after that, with 25 points for a win, and we are only 26 behind Frinton, which in reality is just one win and a bit.

"Personally, I'm not surprised that Frinton are top and have managed to stay up there.

"They strengthened over the winter with the recruitment of Ollie Bocking and Ash Watson, and also an overseas player (Dulanjala Mendis), so it's not surprising they are title contenders," added Batch.

Saturday's rain-affected clash saw Sudbury, who were put into bat, make 216 for eight off 37 overs.

Keelan Waldock (30) and Mansfield (20) shared an opening stand of 41, while there were also useful middle order contributions from Martyn Cull (27) and Ryan Vickery (30). Kenny Moulton-Day also struck a swift 20 off 12 balls.

But the biggest partnership of the innings was an unbeaten stand of 52 for the ninth wicket, between Ben Reece (30 not out off 11 balls, with three sixes) and James Poulson (20 not out).

Burwell & Exning then advanced to 94 for no wicket, thanks to some dominant batting from Tom Jagot (56no) and Joseph Tetley (36no), before the match was abandoned.

Batch explained: "There was heavy rain in the morning, and all credit to the guys (ground-staff) for getting the game going, because at one stage it looked as though we might not get a game.

"We finally started at 3pm, which is the latest you can start before the match would be abandoned.

"I thought the team put in a good batting display. There were no stand-out performances, but we have terrific strength in depth in our batting, which can be seen by James Poulson coming in at No. 10! James had hit 99 against Mildenhall while opening the innings only a few weeks ago.

"The rain was falling throughout, and batting became a bit easier because the ball tended to skid on, while there was no swing for the bowlers and they also found it difficult with a wet ball," added Batch.

Elsewhere, the West Suffolk derby between Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall was abandoned after 41.2 overs of Mildenhall's innings - they had been put into bat by Bury captain Sean Park.

Alastair Allchin removed both openers, Danny Wilson (1) and Joe Reed (7) cheaply with the score on just 10, before Josh Frame (26), Ben Shepperson (21) and Matt Allen (22) steadied the ship.

However, Mildenhall were in trouble at 95 for six, until Ankit Sharma (60 not out, off 45 balls) and Tristan Blackledge (19no) put on an undefeated 87 for the seventh wicket.

They had boosted the total to 182 for six when play was halted, and eventually abandoned with Bury not even getting into bat.

Just three matches reached a positive conclusion throughout the whole of the Two Counties Championship.

One of these was in Division One, where Hadleigh beat the rain to celebrate an emphatic nine-wicket win at Halstead.

Hadleigh captain Tom Piddington won the toss and elected to field, and Halstead were quickly dismissed for just 78 off 20.3 overs.

Dominic Manthorpe took the first three wickets, two of them caught behind by wicketkeeper Callum Morrin - he went on to claim five catches in the innings.

Manthorpe ended with figures of 7-0-24-6, while Daniel Shanks took two for six off three overs. There was a wicket apiece for Kudzai Maunze and Tim Rix.

Skipper Piddington hit 26 off 27 balls during Hadleigh's successful reply, and Maunze (30no) and Manthorpe (22no) were at the crease as the visitors wrapped up victory in just 11 overs.

The top two clash between leaders Witham and Wivenhoe was abandoned as a draw, after Wivenhoe had made 180 for nine off 40 overs.

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