Parker and Melton shine in Sudbury’s win at Copdock

Ben Parker, who scored a superb 112 not out in Sudbury's win at Copdock & Old Ipswichian. Picture: A

Ben Parker, who scored a superb 112 not out in Sudbury's win at Copdock & Old Ipswichian. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Sudbury celebrated a last-over victory, for the second time this season, to further strengthen their bid to retain their Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League title.

Dustin Melton, who took five for 51 in Sudbury's last-over win at Copdock on Saturday. Picture : RIC

Dustin Melton, who took five for 51 in Sudbury's last-over win at Copdock on Saturday. Picture : RICHARD MARSHAM/RMG PHOTOGRAPHY

The defending champions chalked up a victory at Suffolk rivals Copdock & Old Ipswichian by 101 runs, although that margin of success hides the fact that they wrapped up the win with just two balls remaining.

Ben Parker had been the star of Sudbury’s imposing total of 335 for seven declared, having struck an unbeaten 112. It was a big moment for Parker, because it was first-ever century in EAPL cricket.

Captain Tom Huggins had led from the front, with 51 at the top of the innings, and Parker later enjoyed fine support from the hard-hitting Kenny Moulton-Day (54), overseas all-rounder Timothy Johnston (35) and James Poulson (41).

Copdock lost wickets at regular intervals in their reply, to slip to 87 for four, although young opener Fergus Atkins contributed an excellent 81 off 100 balls, and Jack Mexome, batting at No. 6, threatened to guide Copdock to a hard-earned draw with a patient 61 from 97 deliveries.

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However, Mexome became Dustin Melton’s fifth wicket, to leave the hosts on 225 for nine with three overs of the day left.

Fast bowler Melton ended with terrific figures of 14-3-51-5, and Johnston then grabbed his second wicket with the third last ball, having No. 11 Lewis Millions caught off bat-and-pad at short leg by Ben Parker, who therefore rounded off a superb day for both him and the team.

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Copdock were therefore bowled out for 234, so handing Sudbury their 10th victory from 13 matches this season.

The Friars Street club are now 47 points clear at the top of the table, a very healthy position to be in at this stage of the season, having won the EAPL title for the first-ever time last year.

Club captain, Darren Batch, takes up the story of the match.

“They (Copdock) won the toss and elected to field, which was a little bit surprising, given the conditions and that it was a flat pitch,” explained Batch.

“It was a very, very hot day, and I guess that thought it would be very difficult to take 10 wickets, batting second.

“Tom (Huggins and Adam (Mansfield) gave us a very good start, but there was a big injection of momentum from Kenny Moulton-Day, which was a very important innings for us.

“Kenny hit very cleanly and was aggressive, with a few sixes, and that enabled us to get to lunch on 180 for four,, which is a big total to get before lunch.

“Kenny managed to take 30-odd runs off Chris Swallow’s four overs, and Chris is usually a very important bowler for them.

“There was then two good partnerships, between Ben (Parker) and Tim (Johnston), and then Ben and James Poulson.

“Ben batted really well, and everyone was delighted for him. He fully deserved to get his first hundred in the league.

“This big innings had been coming for some time, after he had made 42 at Norwich a couple of weeks ago, and then 85 not out against Bury St Edmunds last weekend.

“It was a big total, but it was such a flat pitch that it was always going to be difficult to bowl out Copdock.

“However, Dustin (Melton) deserves great credit for putting in such a hard shift on a hot day. He gave it his all, and got his rewards with some crucial wickets.

“The big wicket was the one of Jack Mexome, when the overs were beginning to run out.

“We had needed three wickets off the last nine overs, and there were just over three overs to go when the ninth wicket fell.

“We had all our men around the bat, and Ben Parker took the catch to make if another great day for the club.

“That could be a key win for us, in the context of the season as a whole, and it’s the second time we have won by bowling out a team in the last over. The other was against Great Witchingham.

“It’s all very positive for us at the moment, with the team being able to change potential draws into close wins.

“That makes a huge difference, in terms of points. We would have got 13 points if we had been held to a draw on Saturday, but we ended up getting 30.”

After Huggins (51 off 64 balls) and Adam Mansfield (23) had put on 52 for the first wicket, Moulton-Day then plundered two sixes and nine fours in his 43-ball stay half-century (54).

Parker’s unbeaten 112, which came off 132 deliveries and featured 16 fours and a six, included an important stand of 71 for the seventh wicket with Poulson.

Jason Pembroke bowled exceptionally well for Copdock, with figures of 18-2-85-5, trapping both Huggins and Batch lbw, but in the end Melton’s aggressive bowling won the day for Sudbury.

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